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REX: To partner with Turkish Airlines in Australia?

REX: To partner with Turkish Airlines in Australia?

A number of publications are reporting that Turkish Airlines is in discussion about forming a partnership with Regional Express (REX) from domestic and regional flights within Australia. Turkish Airilnes has rights to fly to Australia from January 2024 as recently reported.

Talking to Aviation week a couple of days ago, Turkish Airlines Chairman Ahmet Bolat said:

“We have already commercial cooperation with Australian airlines that allow our passengers to reach Australia,”

Our team responsible is already negotiating with another partner in Australia—Rex is a respected airline and, as we see it, is expanding firmly in the domestic Australia market. The steady increase in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth operations of Rex attracted our attention.

Ahmet Bolat, Turkish Airlines Chairman quoted in Aviation Week
REX Boeiing 737 800 interior [REX]
REX Boeiing 737 800 interior [REX]


The regional airline REX operates interstate flights to most Australian capital Cities and services regional areas, particularly in the east of Australia. It is a minor airline compared to its big sisters, Qantas and Virgin Australia, but has a firm plan for expansion.

The airline currently operates a fleet of 9 Boeing B737-800s and 58 Saab 340s to around 56 mainly regional destinations in Australia.

Turkish Airlines in Australia

The Istanbul based airline is planning Australian routes initially to Melbourne and Sydney, although it has been granted rights to fly in and out of Brisbane as well for a total of 21 flights per week, but the Australian Government through its bilateral air agreements with Türkiye. This will expand to 35 flights in 2025 covering major Australia capital cities, including Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney both its Kingsford Smith and new Western Sydney international airports (opening in 2026)

Turkish Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance. but has some independent partners such as IndiGo, Olympic and Azul.

a map of australia with many cities
Chart of Regional Express (REX) current route map 2023 [REX]

2PAXfly Takeout

This is an interesting proposed partnership and would sure be a boost to REX’s domestic inter-city plans. Qantas or Virgin Australia would be more natural allies, especially since both have much larger market shares and domestic footprints. Especially Qantas, which also has its regional sub-brand Qantas Link and its strategic stake in Alliance Air, also a regional and contract flight partner.

REX is on a bit of an expansion roll. It has recently launched a new Frequent Flyer Scheme, Rex Flyer. Although it is still in its infancy, Rex has just rolled out the ability to redeem points for flights within the scheme. REX has already partnered with Delta for international flights to America.

The airline, if you look at its web presence, deal with its phone operators or even its staffed chat, feels a bit folksy and old-fashioned. Not a bad thing in an environment where Qantas and Virgin Australia are becoming more and more de-personalised, even for premium flyers. However, the lack of functionality on their website and the complete absence of a phone-based app makes check-in and other interactions feel like they are a little trapped in a previous time.

I’ve just booked a trip with them in February, so I will report back on the experience then.

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