Regional Express Airlines

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For the holding company that owns Regional Express Airlines, see Regional Express Holdings. For the train service, see Regional-Express.
Regional Express
Regional Express Airlines logo.svg
IATA
ZL
ICAO
RXA
Callsign
REX
Founded 2002
Operating bases Adelaide Airport
Melbourne Airport
Sydney Airport
Townsville Airport
Fleet size 48
Destinations 36
Company slogan "Our heart is in the country"
Parent company Regional Express Holdings
Headquarters Mascot
Key people

Jim Davis, Managing Director[1]

Lim Kim Hai, Executive Chairman/ Majority Shareholder [2]
Website www.rex.com.au

Regional Express (also known as Rex) is an Australian airline based in Mascot, New South Wales.[3][4] It operates scheduled regional services.[5] It is Australia's largest regional airline outside the Qantas group of companies and serves New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria, North Queensland and Tasmania. Its entire fleet consists of Swedish built Saab 340 turboprop aircraft seating 33, 34 or 36 passengers.

History[edit]

The airline was established in 2002 when the Australiawide Airlines consortium (set up by former Ansett Australia employees) acquired Hazelton Airlines and Kendell Airlines, merged the two companies and started operations in August 2002 as Rex.[5] In 2005, Australiawide Airlines was renamed Regional Express Holdings and partially floated on the Australian Securities Exchange.[6] On 30 November 2005, Rex announced the acquisition of the Dubbo-based Air Link, another regional airline.[7]

In October 2007, Rex expanded into Queensland when it commenced operations between Brisbane and Maryborough.[8] This exacerbated an existing problem within the company of not having enough pilots to crew its flights (due to the expansion of larger airlines, especially Jetstar Airways and Virgin Blue),[9][10] and Rex suspended operations out of Brisbane[11] (and from Sydney to Cooma during the summer "low season" for this route to the NSW ski fields)[12] in November 2007. To provide a medium-term solution to the pilot shortage, Rex announced that it was establishing a cadet-pilot flight-training programme.[13] At the same time, Rex announced the impending retirement of Managing director Geoff Breust.[14]

Services[edit]

Saab 340A at Burnie Airport in August 2007
Regional Express' facility at Wagga Wagga Airport in June 2008

Fleet[edit]

Saab 340B Plus aircraft N383AE and VH-ZRY (Was N901AE) at Wagga Wagga Airport in December 2008

Rex operates one of the world's largest fleet of twin turboprop engined Saab 340 passenger aircraft of all versions.[15] Several 340Bs, a 340A and all Kendell CRJ-200s and Hazelton Metros were taken out of service following the establishment of Regional Express. Since then the former Kendell Metro fleet has also been gradually phased out of service, with the remaining four aircraft being transferred to Pel-Air in late 2006 and the first half of 2007.[16]

Since the establishment of the airline, Regional Express has added over thirty Saabs to those inherited from Kendell and Hazelton to expand its fleet, while others have been withdrawn.

Regional Express rotates all of its aircraft between Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. The delivery of 25 ex-American Eagle Airlines Saab 340B Plus aircraft (to be leased) over 3 years starting in mid-2007 will enable the expansion of services and the phase-out of the Saab 340As, and some older B models. The 340B Plus has a quieter and more comfortable interior, with the usual leather seating that is typical to the Saab 340. As of December 2009 22 of the 25 aircraft have been delivered.[17][18]

As of May 2013, 46 Saab 340 aircraft are in the Rex fleet.[18][19] In July 2008 the company announced that all of its 340As would be phased out.[17] A Saab 340B was withdrawn from service to be used as a source of spare parts which was later restored and put on display at Wagga Wagga airport. The first of the 340A freighter conversions was sold to Solinair in July 2008.[17] Two more 340As were converted to freighters and transferred to sister company Pel-Air in the second half of 2008, and three examples were sold to overseas airlines in January 2009 and April 2009. The 3rd freighter conversion, VH-KDK for Pel-Air was completed on 22 April 2009 leaving one 340A in limited service. In early 2010 Rex leased two aircraft to SGA Airlines in Thailand and phased out the last Saab 340A on 27 September 2010 to Pel-Air and is used for charters out of Brisbane.[18]

Regional Express Airlines fleet (as of May 2013)
Aircraft Total Notes
Saab 340B 20
Saab 340BPlus 26

Special logos[edit]

The Arid Zone Artists' mural on VH-EKD.
VH-TRX has a caricature of Kay Hull, visible below the forward cabin window.

When the Regional Express livery was first introduced, the logos of the former operators Kendell and Hazelton were located underneath the leading passenger window to the rear of the main entrance door (one aircraft, 340BPlus VH-EKH, displayed these logos with the motto "Our heart is in the country" until it was repainted in June 2010).

In addition to VH-EKH mentioned above, several aircraft in the Rex fleet display special logos or other visual features:

  • VH-EKD used to have a mural on the LH forward fuselage (Right) promoting the outback City of Broken Hill. This mural was executed by a group known as the Arid Zone Artists in 1998. The aircraft was repainted in June 2010.
  • VH-EKX was repainted in Adelaide during late 2011 into a special livery promoting Shark Cage Diving. The rear end of the aircraft is blue and features airbrushed artwork of 2 divers in a cage with a shark swimming towards them.
  • VH-SBA was painted into a special "City of Wagga Wagga" livery late in September and October 2008.
  • VH-TRX has a caricature of Kay Hull MHR (Right), whose efforts were instrumental in helping Rex to become established, on the LH forward fuselage. The City of Wagga Wagga is within her electorate of Riverina.
  • Most aircraft also have decals displaying the Saab aerospace corporate logo on the entry door or the "Our heart is in the country" motto; some have both.

Flight school[edit]

Australian Airline Pilot Academy hangar at Wagga Wagga Airport

In November 2007 Regional Express Airlines and Mangalore Airport Pty Limited created a joint venture pilot academy called Civil Aviation Training Academy based at Mangalore Airport in Victoria.[20] April 2008 Regional Express Airlines fully acquired the Civil Aviation Training Academy and was renamed to Australian Airline Pilot Academy.[21]

On 18 February 2009, Regional Express Airlines announced that the Australian Airline Pilot Academy (AAPA) would be relocated from Mangalore Airport to Wagga Wagga Airport in partnership with the City of Wagga Wagga starting in April 2009.[22][23]

On 27 May 2010, AAPA campus at Wagga Wagga Airport was officially opened by Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Anthony Albanese.[24]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rex appoints new MD > AviationRecord > Search Results
  2. ^ Our Company :: Leadership
  3. ^ Australian Securities and Investment Commission ACN details for Regional Express Pty Ltd retrieved 14 January 2013
  4. ^ ABN details for Regional Express Pty Ltd retrieved 14 January 2013
  5. ^ a b Flight International 12–18 April 2005
  6. ^ Rex Invests in Pel-Air
  7. ^ Rex Acquires Air Link
  8. ^ Rex Touches Down in Queensland retrieved 2007-11-16.
  9. ^ Rex Warns of Looming Catastrophic Shortage of Pilots in Australia retrieved 2007-11-16.
  10. ^ Presentation at Press Conference held on 7 November 2007 retrieved 2007-11-16.
  11. ^ Rex Announces Suspension of Maryborough Service due to Pilot Shortage retrieved 2007-11-16.
  12. ^ Ongoing Pilot Shortage Forces Regional Express to Temporarily Suspend 'Snowy Mountains' Service retrieved 2007-11-16.
  13. ^ Rex and Mangalore Airport Announce Creation of Pilot Academy retrieved 2007-11-16.
  14. ^ Rex Discloses Retirement of its Managing Director retrieved 2007-11-16.
  15. ^ Ben Sandilands (11 May 2009). "Air safety investigation fail: Wagga REX turbo prop incident". Crikey. 
  16. ^ CASA Australian civil register database online search using "227-DC" and "Pel-Air" as the search parameters. Search conducted 2007-08-16
  17. ^ a b c "Rex Announces Sale Of SAAB 340A Freighter To Bridges". Regional Express. 2008-07-10. Retrieved 2008-08-24. 
  18. ^ a b c "Rex Plans to Phase Out Older Saab 340A Aircraft" - Rex Media Release retrieved 2009-01-14
  19. ^ Australian civil aircraft register search, using "Regional Express" as the search parameter. Search conducted 8 November 2011.
  20. ^ "Rex and Mangalore Airport Announce Creation of Pilot Academy". Regional Express. 2007-11-01. Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  21. ^ "Rex fully acquires pilot training academy". Regional Express. 2008-05-21. Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  22. ^ "REX to relocate pilot academy". News Limited (Weekly Times Now). 2009-02-18. Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  23. ^ "REX t construct pilot academy at Wagga Wagga". Regional Express. 2009-02-18. Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  24. ^ "Reaching for the sky". The Daily Advertiser. 28 May 2010. Retrieved 28 May 2010. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Regional Express at Wikimedia Commons