Two incumbent operators have won five-year extensions on a series of regulated regional air routes in Western Australia. Rex - Regional Express (ZL, Wagga Wagga) had its contract to operate on the Perth International - Esperance, Perth - Albany, WA, and Perth - Carnarvon - Monkey Mia routes renewed after no other airlines tendered for the five-year contract, while Skippers Aviation (HK, Perth International) was re-awarded the Perth - Laverton - Leonora, and Perth - Wiluna - Meekatharra - Mount Magnet routes. The new contracts commence on October 2, 2023, and run until July 2, 2028.

"Both Rex and Skippers Aviation have a long history of working with the state government to provide air services for regional residents, and their tender submissions demonstrated they were best placed to continue operating on their respective routes," said Western Australia Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.

Under Western Australia's regulated air routes regime, an airline is granted monopoly rights to operate on certain routes for a specific period. There are ten such routes in Western Australia. The program ensures small regional centres remain connected with the state capital but the government also subsidises the carrier's operating costs on the route.

Rex has encountered fierce and sustained community criticism for its delays and reportedly poor customer service on its Western Australia-regulated routes, something it attributes to crew shortages and supply chain challenges. "I am acutely aware that Rex’s service levels have not matched the very high standards that Rex delivered in WA since February 2016 until the re-opening after Covid,” said Rex Group Executive Chairman Lim Kim Hai.

Esperance Shire President Ian Mickel said Rex's on-time performance to that town's airport, 582 kilometres southeast of Perth, was running at under 50%. "I am extremely disappointed (they've been re-awarded the contract)", he told local media. "I can only say that on Rex Airlines' past performance, it has been very, very disappointing."

Hai says Rex will give its services in Western Australia "maximum priority", and plans are in train to deliver improved service delivery, including potentially deploying bigger aircraft from the National Jet Express (JTE, Adelaide International) fleet onto the routes. From October 2, Rex will fly a minimum of 24 roundtrips per week on the Perth - Albany city pair, a minimum of 22 roundtrips per week on the Perth - Esperance route, and 12 roundtrips per week on the Perth - Carnarvon route, with seven of those services continuing onto Monkey Mia.

The decision to re-award the routes to Skippers Aviation was less controversial. That Perth-based airline operates a fleet of Fokker 100s, DHC-8-100s, DHC-8-300s, DHC-8-Q300s, EMB-120s, Metroliner 23s, and Cessna (twin turboprop) C441s, albeit with many of these aircraft presently out-of-service. In line with its current schedules, Skippers will operate three return services per week on both routes with the potential for additional services dependent on demand.

As part of the contracts, both airlines will also offer regional residents access to capped airfares for personal travel to and from Perth as part of the state government's successful Regional Airfare Zone Cap scheme.