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A Rex aircraft sitting on the tarmac in Nowra, Australia. (Photo: Regional Express)

Rex Continues to Expand Jet Fleet

Australian regional carrier Regional Express — better known as Rex — has taken delivery of yet another Boeing 737-800NG, which comes as the sixth to join the airline’s expanding fleet of jet aircraft. The 737, with the registration VH-RYU, touched down in Sydney from Brisbane, after emerging from the lessor’s paint facility adorned in the distinctive Rex livery.

The newly delivered aircraft will soon enter service on the airline’s domestic network, spanning Adelaide, Canberra, Gold Coast, Melbourne and Sydney.

Rex is also expecting to receive two more aircraft in July and hopes to grow its fleet of 737-800NG further by the end of this year. This move comes rather quickly as the airline had only just entered the already competitive Australian interstate domestic mainline market just last month — eyeing flights between Canberra and Sydney, in particular — using six former Virgin Australia 176-seat 737-800NGs.

The airline moved in on the market as a way of ending Australia’s national carrier Qantas’s monopoly on the Canberra and Sydney route, also accusing the company of price gouging.

With seven flights between the cities per day from April 19 and with further route expansions foreseeable if “patronage is good,” Rex offered one-way fares below $100 and also opened a lounge at Canberra Airport in hopes that the affordable tickets will generate more business and passenger traffic between cities as the aviation industry continues to aim for a slow recovery.

“We have almost daily requests from major cities all over Australia for Rex’s services and we will work with all airports that are prepared to establish a good partnership with us,” Rex Deputy Chairman John Sharp said.

Prior to its broader domestic expansion, Rex was Australia’s largest independent regional airline. It currently operates a fleet of 60 Saab 340 and six 737-800NG aircraft, flying to sixty-two destinations throughout all states in the country.

“We welcome expression of interests from all major cities as we are determined to bring our unique premium reliable services as affordable fares to the four corners of Australia delivered with our trademark country hospitality,” Sharp said.

The Aircraft’s New Look

PPG Aerospace made the announcement that it would be supplying Rex with several aerospace coatings for the airline’s 737-800 fleet and has been known to deliver services quicker than competitors through a vast global network, with sixteen regional Application Support Centers (ASCs) around the world. Besides providing direct access to market-leading coatings, sealants and transparencies, PPG’s ACSs also provide expedited services such as colour-matching, window systems assembly and chemical management. Rex Airlines has been a long-standing PPG Aerospace customer.

“We are proud that Rex Airlines selected PPG’s innovative paint systems for its expanded fleet or narrow-body aircraft,” said Mark Ingram, Australia aerospace account manager for PPG. “With our local manufacturing capabilities in Australia, we have the unmatched ability to meet the needs of regional companies like Rex Airlines.”

For the aircraft’s fuselage, tail and engine cowlings, Rex selected a chromate-free conversion coating and adhesion promoter, an epoxy primer and a basecoat-clearcoat system. The horizontal stabilisers and wings were chosen to be coated with an exterior primer that is formulated to protect aluminium and composite substrates from corrosions, alongside an elastomeric coating and topcoat system.

Charlotte Seet
Charlotte Seet
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