Rex hopes to be next aerial operator for Australian Antarctic Division

A Rex Airlines Boeing 737 is loaded at Melbourne Airport.
Nick-D, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Australia’s Regional Express Group (Rex) has recently announced its response to the Request for Information (RFI) issued by the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD).

This move indicates Rex’s hope to become the next aerial operator for the Australian Antarctic Program. In an ambitious initiative, the AAD proposes to consolidate highly specialized aerial operations under a single operator’s command.

In so doing, the Program aims to enhance capabilities and streamline efficiency.

Australian Antarctic Program

The Australian Antarctic Program necessitates expanded resources, including one large intercontinental passenger jet, four intracontinental turbo-prop aircraft capable of operating on skis, four twin-engine helicopters suitable for both land and the Division’s flagship, the RSV Nuyina.

Additionally, there is a need to significantly scale up the Uncrewed Aerial System (UAS) capability to support the Division’s operations during the Antarctic Austral Summer, spanning from October to March.


Craig Martin, Rex’s Antarctic Project Manager, emphasized the importance of an operator with extensive aviation expertise across various platforms and a track record of organizational excellence in executing special missions.

Rex proposal

According to Martin, Rex Group stands out as the ideal Australian candidate arguing that it has vast experience operating a diverse fleet of 150 aircraft nationwide.

Their fleet includes Boeing 737-800NG and Embraer E190 airliners, De Havilland Dash 8-400 turboprops, over 55 Saab 340 turboprops, one of Australia’s largest fleets of Beechcraft King Air aircraft, and the recently introduced Pilatus PC24 jets.

Rex Group also puts forward the fact that it possesses valuable knowledge in special mission operations, having conducted tactical flying for the Department of Defence for two decades.

They have also provided specialized aeromedical services for over 12 years as the designated air ambulance operator for the State Governments of New South Wales and Victoria.

Establishment of advisory panel

Recognizing the unique challenges posed by the Antarctic environment, Rex has taken a proactive approach by assembling an Antarctic Advisory Panel (AAP).

Comprising foremost experts in the field, the AAP brings practical knowledge of actual aerial operations in the Antarctic and expertise in designing skis suitable for landing on unprepared terrain in the region.

The AAP has played a vital role in guiding Rex’s response to the RFI, and over the next five months, they plan to work on developing the optimal solution in anticipation of the Request for Tender, scheduled for November this year.

Rex intends to take the lead in forming a consortium of industry partners, thereby ensuring that the Program benefits from the specialized expertise required for certain aspects of the operation.

The Rex Group believe that this collaborative approach will bring together the best minds and resources to successfully execute the Australian Antarctic Program.

About Rex

Rex is presently Australia’s largest independent regional and domestic airline operating a fleet of 58 Saab 340 and 7 Boeing 737-800NG aircraft to 57 destinations throughout all states in Australia.

In addition to the airline Rex, the Rex Group comprises wholly owned subsidiaries Pel-Air Aviation (air freight, aeromedical and charter operator), the Australian Airline Pilot 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.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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