Regional Express Airlines
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Regional Express Airlines

Regional Express Pty. Ltd.
Regional Express Airlines logo.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
Commenced operationsAugust 2002
Operating bases
Fleet size63
Parent companyRegional Express Holdings
HeadquartersMascot, New South Wales, Australia
Key people
  • Lim Kim Hai (Executive Chairman)
  • John Sharp (Deputy Chairman)
  • Neville Howell (COO)
Employees1,089 (2020)[1]

Regional Express Pty. Ltd., trading as Rex Airlines (and as Regional Express on regional routes), is an Australian airline based in Mascot, New South Wales. It operates scheduled regional and domestic services. It is Australia's largest regional airline outside the Qantas group of companies and serves all 6 states across Australia.


Regional Express' facility at Wagga Wagga Airport in June 2008

The airline was established in 2002 when the Australiawide Airlines consortium (set up by former Ansett Australia employees) acquired Hazelton Airlines and Kendell Airlines, before merging the companies and starting operations as Rex in August 2002.[2] In 2005, Australiawide Airlines was renamed Regional Express Holdings and partially floated on the Australian Securities Exchange.[3] On 30 November 2005, Rex announced the acquisition of the Dubbo-based Air Link, another regional airline.[4]

In October 2007, Rex expanded into Queensland when it commenced operations between Brisbane and Maryborough.[5] 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 and Virgin Blue),[6][7] and Rex suspended operations out of Brisbane[8] (and from Sydney to Cooma during the summer "low season" for this route to the NSW ski fields)[9] 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.[10]

In November 2015, Rex announced the resumption of services to the NSW Snowy Mountains in conjunction with Snowy Mountains Airport Corporation, with the flights resuming in March 2016.[11] In December 2015, Rex announced that it would be commencing operations in Western Australia in February the following year after being selected by the Government of Western Australia to be the operator of regulated RPT routes after a tender process. Initially operating between Perth to Albany and Esperance, in July 2018 the Western Australian operations expanded to include Carnarvon and Monkey Mia. It brought Rex's weekly flights to roughly 1,500 across 60 destinations.[12]

Starting on 6 April 2020, Rex significantly scaled back all its regional services due to the COVID-19 pandemic, continuing to only offer Government subsidised services within Queensland and Western Australia and one flight a week between all 54 regional and remote communities within its route network. Services including Adelaide to Port Augusta, Sydney to Newcastle and Sydney to Armidale were suspended.[13]

In June 2020, Rex announced interest in expanding into the domestic airline market, with operations to commence in 2021 between Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Rex leased six Boeing 737-800s previously leased by Virgin Australia to operate the new services, with the first delivered in November 2020.[14][15] The first jet operations began on 1 March 2021 on the Melbourne to Sydney route.[16] Also in June 2020, Rex announced that it had entered into a memorandum of understanding with ATR to explore options for replacing the Saab 340 fleet with ATR 42 and ATR 72 aircraft.[17] Following the airline's launch of jet services in March 2021, Rex replaced the announced Brisbane jet services in early April with services to Adelaide and Gold Coast, with the start of services occurring between 29 March and 1 April.[18]


Rex Airlines initially offered regional flights from various bases across Australia using turboprop aircraft, but in March 2021 began flying between its bases using jet aircraft, with flights between Melbourne and Sydney. Their current Domestic flights at the moment consists of destinations in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Gold Coast and Adelaide.


Current fleet

As of April 2021, the Rex Airlines fleet consists of the following aircraft:[19][20]

Rex Airlines fleet
Aircraft In
Orders Passengers
Boeing 737-800 6 4 8 162 170 Rex Airlines (VH-RQC) Boeing 737-8FE(WL) landing at Canberra Airport (6).jpg
168 176
Saab 340A 1 -- -- 34 34 Saab 340A, Regional Express (REX) JP394502.jpg
Saab 340B 29 -- -- 33 33
34 34
36 36 Regional Express (VH-ZJS) Saab 340B taxiing at Wagga Wagga (4).jpg
Saab 340B+WT 27 -- -- 34 34 Regional Express Saab 340 VH-ZLJ Esperance, 2018 (01).jpg
Total 63 4

Former fleet

Rex Airlines has previously operated the following aircraft:

Fleet development

Rex operates the world's largest fleet of Saab 340 aircraft.[21] 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's subsidiary airline Pel-Air and remains in service as of January 2020.[22][23][24]

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

By October 2020, the airline operated an all-Saab 340 fleet with three variants of the type,[24] though prior in the year during June 2020, Rex announced it was leasing six Boeing 737-800s with the first delivered in November 2020, and the further five to be delivered by March 2021 in order to begin operations with jet aircraft.[14]

Incidents and accidents

  • On 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) found 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.[25]
  • 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 ATSB after investigating found a fatigue crack in the engine's propeller mounting flange.[26]
  • On 29 August 2019, a Regional Express Saab 340B, registration VH-RXX, the crew received a right engine fire indication followed by a loud bang while they were shutting the engine down. The aircraft landed at the planned destination of Merimbula without further incident. The ATSB discovered that the indication and subsequent engine failure was caused by an internal oil fire weakening the turbine blades.[27]

Flight school

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.[28] In April 2008, Regional Express Airlines fully acquired the Civil Aviation Training Academy and it was renamed to Australian Airline Pilot Academy.[29]

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.[30][31]

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.[32]

On 19 November 2019, AAPA purchased ST Aerospace Academy Australia at Ballarat Airport in Victoria, taking it over as a Second Campus.[33]

See also


  1. ^ "Rex Airlines Work Place Gender Equality 2020" (PDF). Retrieved 2021.
  2. ^ Flight International 12-18 April 2005
  3. ^ "Rex Invests in Pel-Air" (Press release). Regional Express. 30 August 2005. Archived from the original on 8 February 2012.
  4. ^ "Rex Acquires Air Link" (Press release). Regional Express. 30 November 2005. Archived from the original on 8 February 2012.
  5. ^ "Rex Touches Down in Queensland" (Press release). Regional Express. 8 October 2007. Archived from the original on 8 February 2012.
  6. ^ "Rex Warns of Looming Catastrophic Shortage of Pilots in Australia" (Press release). Regional Express. 9 October 2007. Archived from the original on 8 February 2012.
  7. ^ "Presentation at Press Conference held on 7 November 2007" (PDF) (Press release). Regional Express. 7 November 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 February 2012.
  8. ^ "Rex Announces Suspension of Maryborough Service due to Pilot Shortage" (Press release). Regional Express. 5 November 2007. Archived from the original on 8 February 2012.
  9. ^ "Ongoing Pilot Shortage Forces Regional Express to Temporarily Suspend 'Snowy Mountains' Service" (Press release). Regional Express. 31 October 2007. Archived from the original on 8 February 2012.
  10. ^ "Rex and Mangalore Airport Announce Creation of Pilot Academy" (Press release). Regional Express. 1 November 2007. Archived from the original on 8 February 2012.
  11. ^ "Rex to commence services to the Snowy Mountains" (PDF) (Press release). Regional Express. 19 November 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 March 2016.
  12. ^ "Carnarvon and Monkey Mia to benefit from community airfares". Government of Western Australia. 25 June 2018.
  13. ^ "Regional Express to continue servicing regional airports after Government offers COVID-19 lifeline". ABC News. Australia. 21 April 2020.
  14. ^ a b "REX ready to enter jet set". Airliner World (December 2020): 19.
  15. ^ Melanko, Ashleigh (30 September 2020). "Regional Express (ASX:REX) locks in six Boeing 737-800 NG aircrafts [sic]". The Market Herald. Retrieved 2020.
  16. ^ "Rex locks in six Boeing 737-800 NG for domestic jet operations" (Press release). Regional Express. 20 September 2020. Archived from the original on 30 November 2020.
  17. ^ "Rex board has approved plans for domestic operations" (Press release). Regional Express. 29 June 2020. Archived from the original on 24 September 2020.
  18. ^ Flynn, David (1 March 2021). "Rex expands Sydney-Melbourne flights to Gold Coast, Adelaide". Executive Traveller. Business Travel Media Pty Ltd. Retrieved 2021.
  19. ^ "Rex Fleet". Regional Express. Retrieved 2021.
  20. ^ "REX (Regional Express) Fleet Details and History". Retrieved 2021.
  21. ^ Sandilands, Ben (11 May 2009). "Air safety investigation fail: Wagga REX turbo prop incident". Crikey.
  22. ^ "Rex Announces Sale of SAAB 340A Freighter To Bridges" (Press release). Regional Express. 10 July 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  23. ^ "Rex Plans to Phase Out Older Saab 340A Aircraft". Rex Media Release (Press release). Regional Express. Retrieved 2009.
  24. ^ a b "Aircraft Register Advanced Search". Civil Aviation Safety Authority. Australian Government. Retrieved 2016.
  25. ^ "Rex Saab 340 in near-miss with glider". FlightGlobal. Retrieved 2016.
  26. ^ "ATSB finds fatigue cracking in Rex propeller incident". Australian Aviation. 13 April 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  27. ^ "Oil sump coking leads to Saab 340 engine failure". Australian Transport Safety Bureau. 13 August 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  28. ^ "Rex and Mangalore Airport Announce Creation of Pilot Academy". Regional Express. 1 November 2007. Retrieved 2009.
  29. ^ "Rex fully acquires pilot training academy". Regional Express. 21 May 2008. Retrieved 2009.
  30. ^ "REX to relocate pilot academy". News Limited. Weekly Times Now. 18 February 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  31. ^ "REX t construct pilot academy at Wagga Wagga". Regional Express. 18 February 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  32. ^ "Reaching for the sky". The Daily Advertiser. 28 May 2010. Retrieved 2010.
  33. ^ "More pilots will be trained in Ballarat after Regional Express extends its training academy". The Courier. 19 November 2019. Retrieved 2021.

External links

Media related to Rex Airlines at Wikimedia Commons

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