US airline Delta has today begun its new agreement with Rex after its codeshare split with Virgin Australia last year.
The interline service agreement, first announced earlier this year, means passengers can connect between the airlines and use a single bag drop.
Delta is one of the US’ ‘big four’ airlines, and the deal will give Australian passengers easy access to 40 cities.
The business will also increase the frequency of its Sydney–LA service to 10 flights per week from 18 December.
Interline service agreements are a less formal partnership than traditional codeshares and often don’t allow the sharing of frequent flyer points.
In 2021, Virgin announced it would switch its American codeshare partner from Delta to United
The airline said the new arrangement would triple its reach and unlock loyalty benefits for Velocity Frequent Flyer members. Virgin had been working with Delta for more than a decade prior to the breakup.
Rex’s deputy chairman, John Sharp, said, “We are proud to enhance our services to our ever-increasing loyal customers by offering seamless connections from our regional and domestic ports to a quality international carrier such as Delta Air Lines.
“This interline arrangement will make it easier for Australians to visit the U.S. allowing customers to connect onto Delta Air Lines’ U.S. network and for Americans to explore more of Australia with over 58 destinations.”
Rex began flying between capital cities in March 2021 after agreeing to a $150 million investment from PAG Asia Capital.
The airline currently has a fleet of seven 737s but is looking to add two more after its domestic operation hit profitability for the first time since February.
Chairman Lim Kim Hai said yesterday the result was “truly unprecedented in the airline world”.
Lim said, “This result was foreshadowed in our media release of 24 June 2022 when we predicted that the agreements with corporates and travel agencies, finalised at the tail end of the prior Financial Year (FY), would very quickly translate into strong passenger and revenue growth.
“True to form, our domestic jet network passenger numbers for the first three months of this FY grew by 60 per cent, 34 per cent and 77 per cent respectively when compared to June 2022.
“Revenue growth has been even stronger at 84 per cent, 47 per cent, and 137 per cent for the same three months, suggesting significant yield improvements.”
Lim was referring to its 10-year deal with Flight Centre to become a “partner of choice” alongside agreements with other travel agents, including Helloworld, Webjet, and Consolidated Travel.