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Regional Express Acquires Australia’s National Jet Express

Rex Finalises Purchase of National Jet Express. (Photo: Regional Express)

Australian airline Regional Express has finally acquired National Jet Express, having made the announcement on Friday, Sept. 30. National Jet Express (NJE) caters to remote locations around Australia with Fly-In-Fly-Out (FIFO) services as the Regional Services arm of Cobham Aviation Services Australia. The acquisition signals the beginning of Rex’s plans to modernize and expand NJE, further widening the growing airline’s footprint.

Expecting a “surge in demand”, Rex’s Executive Chairman Lim Kim Hai said that the airline is “looking to lease immediately another two De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400 NextGen (NG) aircraft to add to its (NJE) fleet”, adding that Rex “will continue to invest in new aircraft and technology to grow the business, especially in Queensland where resource companies have been facing severe issues with capacity and
reliability in recent years.”

Addressing its plans to modernize NJE, Hai also stated: “Rex will overlay this financial and operational prowess on NJE’s core strengths to transform it to be Australia’s premier FIFO operator. Resource companies all over Australia can now count on a modern, comfortable and environmentally-friendly fleet for their FIFO needs instead of relying on 30-year-old Fokker 100 aircraft used predominantly by the other operators.” The comments come off the back of its partnership with Dovetail Electric Aviation, announced in July, as it attempts to lead the way in converting turboprop aircraft to full electric propulsion.

Rex Profits ‘More Absolute’ Than Qantas

Adding further comments to Australia’s Qantas-Rex war, Hai stated that “over the last 18 years, Rex made more absolute accumulated profits than Qantas!”

Elaborating on this comment, Hai added: “Over the last 14 years for example, when the entire global economy has been shaken to the core by the Global Financial Crisis and COVID-19, Rex has still managed to achieve a positive gross return of 2.9%, compared to Singapore Airlines’ 1.3%, while Qantas showed a disgraceful negative 1.9%.”

The feud between the two airlines escalated in May this year when Rex canceled some regional services due to what it called “predatory behavior” from Qantas. At the time, Rex said Qantas aimed to “drive out competition in a war of attrition, knowing that its competitors do not have the balance sheet to lose money indefinitely.”

Union Slams Qantas CEO

Despite the allegations of negative gross returns for Qantas, its CEO Alan Joyce has reportedly received a base salary increase, drawing heavy criticism from the Australian Trade Workers’ Union. According to the TWU, Joyce’s base salary had increased by 15%, adding to $2.27 million (Australian). With strong words, TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said that “Joyce has set himself up for a windfall retirement next year,” adding that “he does not deserve to stay another day at Qantas.”

Kaine further said that “serious safety and security incidents revealed… a horror show. The last two years have seen illegal sackings, attempts to slash cabin crew wages in half, and bonus bribes to silence and coerce workers into accepting wage freezes, meanwhile Alan Joyce has had pay increases two years on the trot – this time around at 15% to his base salary.”

The commentary from the TWU has not been unique, with respected Australian investigative journalism program Four Corners stating that staff within the airline “described a ruthless regime of cost-cutting and out-sourcing.”

Mike Mangano


  • Mike Mangano

    Mike’s love affair with flight and mechanical objects in the sky began at an early age, fascinated by space documentaries and forever inspired by his first experiences with Flight Simulator ’95. He currently works as a UAV flight instructor and is training to receive his Private Pilot Licence with the goal of working in manned flight instruction. An avid reader of all things aviation and manned space flight, Mike stays close to developments in aerospace while reminiscing and sharing the rich history of flight with others. He loves writing, engineering and science. https://twitter.com/MikeMangano9

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