Australian regional operator Regional Express (Rex Airlines) has announced it has taken a 20 per cent stake in Dovetail Electric Aviation.
Dovetail is involved in pioneering the conversion of turbine powered aircraft to electric, emission-free propulsion.
The equity participation agreement formalises the strategic partnership between Rex and Dovetail and builds on the Memorandum of Understanding between the two companies which was unveiled last year on 21 July, 2022.
Rex will now appoint one of its Board members to sit on the Board of Dovetail. The Australian-headquartered Dovetail recently received a $3 million grant from the Federal Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) program.
This will facilitate Dovetail’s development of electric propulsion systems for aircraft used on regional routes operated by Rex and other regional airlines.
Dovetail also recently announced the successful completion of initial ground tests involving a small-scale Electric Propulsion System (EPS) to spin a three-blade propeller for the first time.
Electrifying the regional fleet
Last year, Rex Airlines announced its plan to convert its regional fleet to electric propulsion in the longer term.
In July 2022 the Australian regional carrier first announced the formation of a strategic partnership with Dovetail Electric Aviation (Dovetail) to convert its turbine-powered fleet to electric propulsion.
The pairing was planned to operate under the auspices of the Dovetail brand and the stated intent was to develop and certify the conversion to zero-emission electric powerplants onto legacy aircraft.
Dovetail was formed in 2021 by Sydney Aviation Holdings, owners of Sydney Seaplanes and Dante Aeronautical, a start-up pioneering disruptive electric aviation concepts with a presence both in Spain and Australia.
Speaking at last year’s announcement of the pairing with Rex airlines, Sydney Aviation Holdings CEO, Aaron Shaw, had stated:
“We are incredibly excited to collaborate with Rex Airlines and Dante Aeronautical on an initiative that promises to put Australia firmly on the map as a global leader in the conversion, certification, and maintenance of electric aircraft.”
“For the first commercial electric flight to occur on such a historically important aviation site as Rose Bay just adds to our enthusiasm for this ground-breaking project.”
Dovetail expected to achieve certification for converted aircraft within four years, compared with more than eight to ten years for clean sheet electric aircraft, and at a fraction of the certification costs.
Aircraft will be converted using MagniX engines for which Dovetail is the exclusive distributor in Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific, and Mediterranean Europe.
Converted aircraft will be 30-40% quieter than their donor planes and will enjoy reduced operating costs of around 40%.
About Rex Airlines
Rex is Australia’s largest independent regional and domestic airline operating a fleet of 61 Saab 340 and 7 Boeing 737-800NG aircraft to 58 destinations throughout all states in Australia.
In addition to the airline Rex, the Rex Group comprises wholly owned subsidiaries Pel-Air Aviation an air freight, aeromedical and charter operator.
In addition, Rex also owns the Australian Airline Pilot Academy with campuses in Wagga Wagga and Ballarat, and propeller maintenance organisation, Australian Aerospace Propeller Maintenance.
Rex is also a 50% shareholder of National Jet Express (NJE), a premier Fly-In-Fly-Out (FIFO), charter and freight operator.