Regional Express Airlines

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Regional Express
Regional Express Airlines logo.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
Operating bases Adelaide Airport
Brisbane Airport
Cairns Airport
Melbourne Airport
Perth Airport
Sydney Airport
Townsville Airport
Fleet size57
Company sloganOur heart is in the country
Parent company Regional Express Holdings
Headquarters Mascot
Key people
  • Lim Kim Hai (Executive Chairman)
  • Neville Howell (COO)

Regional Express (also known as Rex) is an Australian airline based in Mascot, New South Wales. [1] [2] It operates scheduled regional services. [3] It is Australia's largest regional airline outside the Qantas group of companies and serves New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia. Its entire fleet consists of 57 Swedish built Saab 340 turboprop aircraft seating 33, 34 or 36 passengers.

Mascot, New South Wales Suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Mascot is a suburb in the Inner-South of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Mascot is located 7 kilometres south of the Sydney central business district and is one of the administrative centres of the Bayside Council. A small part of Mascot is located in the Inner West Council. Mascot is on the north-west side of Botany Bay and contains Sydney Airport.

Regional airline airline connecting smaller airports within a region

Regional airlines are airlines that operate regional aircraft to provide passenger air service to communities without sufficient demand to attract mainline service. There are two main ways for a regional airline to do business:

  1. As an affiliated airline, contracting with a major airline, operating under their brand name, and filling two roles: delivering passengers to the major airline's hubs from surrounding towns, and increasing frequency of service on mainline routes during times when demand does not warrant use of large aircraft, known as commuter flights.
  2. Operating as an independent airline under their own brand, mostly providing service to small and isolated towns, for whom the airline is the only reasonable link to a larger town. Examples of this are PenAir, which links the remote Aleutian Islands to Anchorage, Alaska, and Mokulele Airlines, which operates in the Hawaiian islands.

Qantas Airways Limited is the flag carrier of Australia and its largest airline by fleet size, international flights and international destinations. It is the third oldest airline in the world, after KLM and Avianca having been founded in November 1920; it began international passenger flights in May 1935. The Qantas name comes from "QANTAS", an acronym for its original name, "Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services", and it is nicknamed "The Flying Kangaroo". Qantas is a founding member of Oneworld, an airline alliance.



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. [3] In 2005, Australiawide Airlines was renamed Regional Express Holdings and partially floated on the Australian Securities Exchange. [4] On 30 November 2005, Rex announced the acquisition of the Dubbo-based Air Link, another regional airline. [5]

Ansett Australia former Australian domestic airline

Ansett Australia was a major Australian airline group, based in Melbourne. The airline flew domestically within Australia and from the 1990s to destinations in Asia. After operating for 65 years, the airline was placed into administration in 2001 following a financial collapse and subsequent organised liquidation in 2002, subject to deed of company arrangement.

Hazelton Airlines 1953-2001 airline in Australia

Hazelton Air Services Pty Limited, trading as Hazelton Airlines, was an Australian regional airline which operated until 2001. It was established as an independent airline but by the end of its existence had become a subsidiary of Ansett Australia.

Kendell Airlines was a regional airline in Australia, in the 1990s the largest in the country. It served major regional centres in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania from Melbourne, Adelaide, and Sydney. Many of its services were in co-operation with its parent company Ansett Australia from the 1990s.

In October 2007, Rex expanded into Queensland when it commenced operations between Brisbane and Maryborough. [6] 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), [7] [8] and Rex suspended operations out of Brisbane [9] (and from Sydney to Cooma during the summer "low season" for this route to the NSW ski fields) [10] 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. [11] At the same time, Rex announced the impending retirement of Managing director Geoff Breust. [12]

Queensland North-east state of Australia

Queensland is the second-largest and third-most populous state in the Commonwealth of Australia. Situated in the north-east of the country, it is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean. To its north is the Torres Strait, with Papua New Guinea located less than 200 km across it from the mainland. The state is the world's sixth-largest sub-national entity, with an area of 1,852,642 square kilometres (715,309 sq mi).

Brisbane capital city of Queensland, Australia

Brisbane is the capital of and the most populated city in the Australian state of Queensland, and the third most populous city in Australia. Brisbane's metropolitan area has a population of approximately 2.5 million, and the South East Queensland metropolitan region, centred on Brisbane, encompasses a population of more than 3.6 million.

Maryborough, Queensland City in Queensland, Australia

Maryborough is a city and a suburb in the Fraser Coast Region, Queensland, Australia. It is located on the Mary River in Queensland, Australia, approximately 255 kilometres (160 mi) north of the state capital, Brisbane. The city is served by the Bruce Highway. It is closely tied to its neighbour city Hervey Bay which is approximately 30 kilometres (20 mi) northeast. Together they form part of the area known as the Fraser Coast. As of June 2015 Maryborough had an estimated urban population of 27,846. The city was the location for the 2013 Australian Scout Jamboree.

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. [13] In December 2015, Rex announced that they would be commencing operations in Western Australia in February the following year after being selected by the WA Government to be the operator of regulated RPT routes after a tender process. Initially operating between Perth to Albany and Esperance, in July of 2018 the Western Australian operations expanded to include Carnarvon and Monkey Mia. It brings Rex's weekly flights to some 1,500 across 60 destinations. [14] [15]


Saab 340A at Burnie Airport in August 2007 Saab 340A VH-KDK.jpg
Saab 340A at Burnie Airport in August 2007
Regional Express' facility at Wagga Wagga Airport in June 2008 Regional Express HQ.jpg
Regional Express' facility at Wagga Wagga Airport in June 2008


Saab 340B aircraft at Wagga Wagga Airport Regional Express Airlines (VH-VNA) Saab 340B at Wagga Wagga Airport.jpg
Saab 340B aircraft at Wagga Wagga Airport
Fairchild Metro 23 at Sydney Airport in May 2005 Metro 23 Rex Airline.jpg
Fairchild Metro 23 at Sydney Airport in May 2005

Rex operates the world's largest fleet of Saab 340 aircraft. [16] 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.

Saab 340 Regional airliner

The Saab 340 is a Swedish twin-engine turboprop aircraft designed and initially produced by a partnership between Saab AB and Fairchild Aircraft in a 65:35 ratio. Under the initial arrangement, Saab constructed the all-aluminium fuselage and vertical stabilizer along with final assembly of the aircraft in Linköping, Sweden, while Fairchild was responsible for the wings, empennage, and wing-mounted nacelles for the two turboprop engines. After Fairchild ceased this work, production of these components was transferred to Sweden.

Envoy Air Inc. is an air carrier headquartered in Irving, Texas, in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines Group that, along with several carriers outside the group, feeds the American Airlines route network under the American Eagle brand. With over 1000 flights a day, serving 150 cities across the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, Envoy is considered to be one of the world's largest regional airline systems. Envoy is an affiliate member of the Oneworld airline alliance.

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 January 2019. [17] [18] [19]

Pel-Air airline based in Sydney, Australia

Pel-Air Aviation Pty Ltd is an airline based in Mascot, Sydney, Australia. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Regional Express Holdings, which also owns Australian airlines Regional Express Airlines (Rex) and Air Link.

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

As of June 2019, the airline operates an all Saab 340 fleet with 3 variants of the type. [19]

Rex fleet
AircraftIn servicePassengers
Saab 340A 134
Saab 340B 2933/34/36
Saab 340B+WT 2734

Incidents and accidents

Flight school

Australian Airline Pilot Academy hangar at Wagga Wagga Airport Australian Airline Pilot Academy.jpg
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] In 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]

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Regional Express Holdings is the parent company of a number of airline and associated companies in Australia. It is based in Mascot, New South Wales and is a public listed company on the Australian Stock Exchange.

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  1. Australian Securities and Investment Commission ACN details for Regional Express Pty Ltd retrieved 14 January 2013
  2. ABN details for Regional Express Pty Ltd retrieved 14 January 2013
  3. 1 2 Flight International 12–18 April 2005
  4. "Display Media Release" . Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  5. "Display Media Release" . Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  6. Rex Touches Down in Queensland retrieved 2007-11-16.
  7. Rex Warns of Looming Catastrophic Shortage of Pilots in Australia retrieved 2007-11-16.
  8. Presentation at Press Conference held on 7 November 2007 retrieved 2007-11-16.
  9. Rex Announces Suspension of Maryborough Service due to Pilot Shortage retrieved 2007-11-16.
  10. Ongoing Pilot Shortage Forces Regional Express to Temporarily Suspend 'Snowy Mountains' Service retrieved 2007-11-16.
  11. Rex and Mangalore Airport Announce Creation of Pilot Academy retrieved 2007-11-16.
  12. Rex Discloses Retirement of its Managing Director retrieved 2007-11-16.
  16. Ben Sandilands (11 May 2009). "Air safety investigation fail: Wagga REX turbo prop incident". Crikey .
  17. "Rex Announces Sale Of SAAB 340A Freighter To Bridges". Regional Express. 10 July 2008. Retrieved 24 August 2008.
  18. "Rex Plans to Phase Out Older Saab 340A Aircraft" - Rex Media Release retrieved 2009-01-14
  19. 1 2 CASA Australian civil aircraft register search, using 'Regional Express Pty. Ltd.' as the keyword. Search conducted 7 November 2016
  20. "Rex Saab 340 in near-miss with glider". Flight Global. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  21. "ATSB finds fatigue cracking in Rex propeller incident". Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  22. "Rex and Mangalore Airport Announce Creation of Pilot Academy". Regional Express. 1 November 2007. Retrieved 18 February 2009.
  23. "Rex fully acquires pilot training academy". Regional Express. 21 May 2008. Retrieved 18 February 2009.
  24. "REX to relocate pilot academy". News Limited. Weekly Times Now. 18 February 2009. Retrieved 18 February 2009.
  25. "REX t construct pilot academy at Wagga Wagga". Regional Express. 18 February 2009. Retrieved 18 February 2009.
  26. "Reaching for the sky". The Daily Advertiser. 28 May 2010. Retrieved 28 May 2010.

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