Regional Express Airlines

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.

Regional Express
IATA ICAO Callsign
Operating basesAdelaide Airport
Brisbane Airport
Cairns Airport
Melbourne Airport
Perth Airport
Sydney Airport
Townsville Airport
Fleet size57
Company sloganOur heart is in the country
Parent companyRegional Express Holdings
Key people
  • Lim Kim Hai (Executive Chairman)
  • Neville Howell (COO)


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]

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]

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 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]



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.

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]

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
Aircraft In service Passengers
Saab 340A 1 34
Saab 340B 29 33/34/36
Saab 340B+WT 27 34
Total 57

Incidents and accidents

  • 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.[20]
  • 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.[21]

Flight school

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]


  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. 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. 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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