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 ICAO Callsign
Founded 2002
Operating bases Adelaide Airport
Melbourne Airport
Sydney Airport
Townsville Airport
Cairns Airport
Perth Airport
Fleet size 52
Destinations 54
Company slogan "Our heart is in the country"
Parent company Regional Express Holdings
Headquarters Mascot
Key people
  • Lim Kim Hai, Executive Chairman/ Majority Shareholder [1]
  • Neville Howell, COO [2]

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, Tasmania and Western Australia. Its entire fleet consists of 52 Swedish built Saab 340 turboprop aircraft seating 33, 34 or 36 passengers. Rex formerly flew some Fairchild Metro 23s.


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]

In November 2015, Rex announced the resumption of services to the NSW Snowy Mountains in conjunction with Snowy Mountains Airport Corporation. The flights commenced in March 2016. [15] In December 2015, Rex announced that they were selected by the Western Australia Government to be the operator of regulated RPT routes after a tender process. This is the first time that Rex will be operating out of WA. The new routes, effective 28th February 2016, are from Perth to Albany and Esperance. It brings Rex's weekly flights to some 1,500 across 58 destinations. [16]


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


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

Rex operates the world's largest fleet of twin turboprop engined Saab 340 passenger aircraft of all versions.[17] 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.[18]

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 its bases at Adelaide, Melbourne,Townsville, Brisbane and Sydney. The delivery of 25 ex-American Eagle Airlines Saab 340B Plus aircraft (leased) which have now been purchased outright by REX started in mid-2007 and enabled 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.

In July 2008 the company announced that all of its 340As would be phased out.[19] 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.[19] 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 but have since returned to Australia and are based mainly in Adelaide. With expansion to Perth, Regional Express will add 4 more Saab 340B's early in 2016.[20]

As of July 2016, 52 Saab 340 aircraft are in the Rex mainline passenger fleet.[21]

Regional Express Airlines fleet
Aircraft Total Notes
Saab 340A 1
Saab 340B 22
Saab 340BPlus 29
Total 52

Special logos/liveries[edit]

The Arid Zone Artists' mural that was on VH-EKD from 1998-2010.

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 entry door of aircraft formally belonging to these former operators. All these logos have since been removed.

Some aircraft in the Rex fleet display special logos, other liveries or visual features:

  • VH-EKD has no titles.
  • VH-EKX was repainted in Adelaide by Douglas Aerospace during December 2011 into a special livery promoting shark cage diving. The rear end of the aircraft is blue and features airbrushed artwork of two divers in a cage with a Great White 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 sticker of Kay Hull MHR, whose efforts were instrumental in helping Rex to become established, below the first window to the rear of the main entry door. The City of Wagga Wagga is within her electorate of Riverina.
  • VH-ZJS is an all blue livery aircraft with a white nose and yellow section of paint at the rear of the aircraft and on the engine nacelles. It is in this livery because REX leased it to Happy Air and Nok Air which are both in Thailand. Since rejoining the REX fleet in 2011 it has not been repainted into the standard REX livery.
  • VH-ZXF is in an untitled US Airways Express Livery.
  • VH-ZXG is in an untitled Silver Airways Livery.
  • VH-ZXK is in the regular Silver Airways Livery.
  • VH-ZXS is the same as VH-ZJS, except where there is blue on ZJS, it is instead green on ZXS. It too has not yet been painted into the standard livery. Both of these aircraft are usually based in Adelaide.
  • 10 aircraft in the fleet also featured a "small business too big to ignore" sticker behind the entry door and below the first window which was introduced in late 2013 for about 6 months. These aircraft were VH-ZLA, VH-ZLO, VH-ZLS, VH-ZLV, VH-ZLW, VH-ZRN, VH-REX, VH-RXS, VH-RXX,and VH-ORX. As of April 2016 some still retain this sticker.
  • Most aircraft also have a small decal displaying the Saab aerospace corporate logo on the entry door. This include 25 ex American Eagle Aircraft and VH-TRX.

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 the Civil Aviation Training Academy, based at Mangalore Airport in Victoria.[22] April 2008 Regional Express Airlines fully acquired the Civil Aviation Training Academy and it was renamed to Australian Airline Pilot Academy.[23]

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.[24][25]

On 27 May 2010, the AAPA campus at Wagga Wagga Airport was officially opened by Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Anthony Albanese.[26]


  1. ^ "Our Company :: Leadership". Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  2. ^ "Our Company :: Leadership". Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  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. ^ "Display Media Release". Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  7. ^ "Display Media Release". Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  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. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ Ben Sandilands (11 May 2009). "Air safety investigation fail: Wagga REX turbo prop incident". Crikey. 
  18. ^ CASA Australian civil register database online search using "227-DC" and "Pel-Air" as the search parameters. Search conducted 2007-08-16
  19. ^ a b "Rex Announces Sale Of SAAB 340A Freighter To Bridges". Regional Express. 2008-07-10. Retrieved 2008-08-24. 
  20. ^ "Rex Plans to Phase Out Older Saab 340A Aircraft" - Rex Media Release retrieved 2009-01-14
  21. ^ Australian civil aircraft register search, using "Regional Express" as the search parameter. Search conducted 29 July 2016.
  22. ^ "Rex and Mangalore Airport Announce Creation of Pilot Academy". Regional Express. 2007-11-01. Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  23. ^ "Rex fully acquires pilot training academy". Regional Express. 2008-05-21. Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  24. ^ "REX to relocate pilot academy". News Limited. Weekly Times Now. 2009-02-18. Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  25. ^ "REX t construct pilot academy at Wagga Wagga". Regional Express. 2009-02-18. Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  26. ^ "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