Regional Express Airlines

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Regional Express
Regional Express Airlines logo.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
ZL RXA REX
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]
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, Tasmania and Western Australia. Its entire fleet consists of 52 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]

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 28 February 2016, are from Perth to Albany and Esperance. It brings Rex's weekly flights to some 1,500 across 58 destinations.[16]

Destinations[edit]

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

Fleet[edit]

Rex operates the world's largest fleet of Saab 340 aircraft.[17] The delivery of 25 ex-American Eagle Airlines Saab 340B Plus aircraft started in mid-2007 and enabled the expansion of services and the phase-out of the airline's Saab 340As, and some older B models. The 340B Plus has a quieter and more comfortable interior.

In July 2008 the company announced that all of its 340As would be phased out; however one rejoined the fleet in July 2015 after a 7 year stint with REX' subsidiary airline Pel-Air and remains in service as of November 2016.[18][19][20]

The airline also previously operated some Metro 23 aircraft seating 19 passengers but were phased out.

As of November 2016, the following aircraft are in the Rex mainline passenger fleet.[20]

Rex fleet
Aircraft In service Passengers
(Economy)
Saab 340A 1 34
Saab 340B 51 33/34/36
Total 52

Incidents and accidents[edit]

  • 21 February 2016: A Regional Express Airlines Saab 340B, registered VH-ZLA, was forced to take evasive action to avoid a glider while operating from Orange Airport. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) says the Rex aircraft was climbing through 7,500 ft after departing Orange when the crew sighted the glider in “close proximity”, and took evasive action.[21]
  • On 17 March 2017, the right propeller sheared off a Regional Express Saab 340B, tail number VH-NRX, while operating flight ZL768 from Albury to Sydney. The pilot made a pan-pan call but was able to land the plane without incident. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau after investigating found a fatigue crack in the engine’s propeller mounting flange.[22]

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.[23] In April 2008 Regional Express Airlines fully acquired the Civil Aviation Training Academy and it was renamed to Australian Airline Pilot Academy.[24]

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.[25][26]

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.[27]

References[edit]

  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. ^ http://www.rex.com.au/MediaRelease/Files/469_MR20151119-RextoCommenceServicestotheSnowyMountains.pdf
  16. ^ http://www.rex.com.au/MediaRelease/Files/471_MR20151224-RexWARoutesNowOpenforSale.pdf
  17. ^ Ben Sandilands (11 May 2009). "Air safety investigation fail: Wagga REX turbo prop incident". Crikey. 
  18. ^ "Rex Announces Sale Of SAAB 340A Freighter To Bridges". Regional Express. 2008-07-10. Retrieved 2008-08-24. 
  19. ^ "Rex Plans to Phase Out Older Saab 340A Aircraft" - Rex Media Release retrieved 2009-01-14
  20. ^ a b CASA Australian civil aircraft register search, using 'Regional Express Pty. Ltd.' as the keyword. Search conducted 7 November 2016
  21. ^ "Rex Saab 340 in near-miss with glider". Flight Global. Retrieved 29 Feb 2016. 
  22. ^ "ATSB finds fatigue cracking in Rex propeller incident". australianaviation.com.au. Retrieved 16 April 2017. 
  23. ^ "Rex and Mangalore Airport Announce Creation of Pilot Academy". Regional Express. 2007-11-01. Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  24. ^ "Rex fully acquires pilot training academy". Regional Express. 2008-05-21. Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  25. ^ "REX to relocate pilot academy". News Limited. Weekly Times Now. 2009-02-18. Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  26. ^ "REX t construct pilot academy at Wagga Wagga". Regional Express. 2009-02-18. Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  27. ^ "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