Rex Airlines Announces Acquisition of Regional Carrier National Jet Express

A Rex Airlines SAAB 340 taxis in.
Chris Finney (GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2), via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – Australian domestic carrier Rex Airlines today announced its signing of a Sale and Purchase Agreement which will see its subsidiary Rex Freight and Charter Pty Ltd (RFC) acquiring 100% of National Jet Express Pty Ltd (NJE).

About National Jet

National Jet is the regional services arm of Cobham Aviation Services Australia (Cobham).

NJE operates as a leading provider of Fly-In Fly-Out (FIFO) services in the states of Western Australia and South Australia. The FIFO industry is a large enterprise, with approximately 60,000 FIFO workers engaged in the state of Western Australia alone.

As many as 5,000 – 6,000 workers fly routinely from the eastern states to work in WA’s resources, oil and gas industries.

In addition, National Jet operates freight services from Sydney to Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and the Gold Coast (Coolangatta), as well as providing air charter services in Papua New Guinea.

Takeover details

The completion of the takeover sale will be subject to regulatory approvals, though it is envisaged that National Jet shareholder approval will not be required.

Commenting on the purchase, Rex’s Executive Chairman, Lim Kim Hai said, “FIFO services are expected to experience strong growth in Australia and this acquisition positions the Rex Group to participate in this booming sector.”

“With this acquisition, Rex will have a FIFO arm that is simply unparalleled in Australia. NJE has a completely modern fleet comprising eight Bombardier Q400 turboprops and six Embraer E190 jets for FIFO work.”

“Both aircraft types are fuel efficient, have enhanced operational reliability and low carbon emissions when compared with the predominantly 40-year-old Fokker 100s used by the other major FIFO operators.”

“I believe that NJE’s modern aircraft fleet and its long-term customer relationships overlayed with Rex’s proven record of safety, reliability and cost efficiencies would propel NJE to be the premier FIFO operator in Australia.”

“NJE will naturally be the partner of choice for resource companies all over Australia who have been crying out for so long for a FIFO provider that is able to address their triple priorities of minimal impact on the environment, comfort and safety of its staff and reliability of service.”

“The Company will invest in modern aircraft and technology to enable NJE to expand from its traditional bases of WA and SA and bring our unique brand of FIFO services also to Queensland and Northern Territory.”

About Rex Airlines

Rex is Australia’s largest independent regional and domestic airline operating a fleet of 60 Saab 340 and six 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 (air freight, aeromedical and charter operator) and the two pilot academies, Australian Airline Pilot Academy in Wagga Wagga and Ballarat.

The airlines latest acquisition announcement follows on from a period of aggressive cutting and re-arrangement of regional services, and latent hostility between it and rival carrier Qantaslink.

Rex recently accused Qantaslink of “predatory behaviour” on some regional routes.

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