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Rex to invest in new 737 simulators under NSW grant program

written by Hannah Dowling | February 7, 2022

Rex's latest 737 is a 17-year-old 737-8FE, VH-RYU msn 33794, which arrived in April 2021
Rex 37-8FE, VH-RYU msn 33794 (Rex)

Rex Airlines has announced it will construct a new Boeing 737 flight simulator centre at its Mascot headquarters, after securing funding under a NSW job-fuelling program.

It comes after Rex acquired its first Boeing 737 full flight simulator in June 2021, which has since been stationed at the Ansett Aviation Training facility in Brisbane.

The airline also intends to build a brand-new aircraft hangar and bolster its capacity at its customer service call centre in Orange, with financial support offered under the NSW government’s $250 million Jobs Plus program.

Under the program, the NSW government is offering financial support to companies looking to establish or expand their business’ footprint in NSW, through payroll tax relief, streamlined planning approvals and rebates on constructing infrastructure.

Australian businesses that employ 20 or more staff and international companies with at least 80 current employees looking to establish a minimum of 30 new jobs in NSW before June 2024 are eligible to apply for the Jobs Plus program.

Rex said its place in the program will generate over 1,300 direct new jobs and 1,200 indirect new jobs by June 2024 and has secured its Sydney base at the airline’s national hub.

In December, Rex confirmed it aims to significantly expand its 737 fleet from six to 14 aircraft to support its growing domestic operations, which most recently expanded to include Brisbane.

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The move was long-awaited after Rex first announced in May 2020 that it was gearing up to rival Qantas and Virgin to take on domestic routes between capital cities, with the airline initially eyeing off routes within the “golden triangle”.

The business later signed off on a $150 million investment in November 2020 to allow it to expand its operations to fly major domestic routes using Boeing 737s, many of which were acquired from then-fumbling Virgin Australia.

Rex Airlines deputy chairman John Sharp welcomed the new support of the NSW government in the company’s planned expansion and said without the program, the airline’s plans “would never have materialised” given the pandemic climate.

Announcing the funding, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said, “A strong domestic aviation sector is critical to our recovery from the pandemic and it’s important there is healthy competition in the industry.

“By supporting Rex Airlines to expand its Sydney headquarters, we are not only creating thousands of new jobs, but signalling to the world that NSW is open and ready to welcome travellers.”

Minister for Enterprise, Investment and Trade Stuart Ayres said, “Rex Airlines has demonstrated its commitment to growing its domestic network and providing consumers with safe, reliable and affordable air travel.

“Last year, we incentivised international airlines to recommence flights to Sydney through a $60 million fund. Supporting the domestic sector to continue those interstate journeys is another crucial step as part of our COVID-19 recovery response plans.

“This support will mean jobs right across the board, from construction and maintenance, catering and office staff through to new flight attendants, pilots and engineers who will also benefit from the new training facilities.

“All of these roles combined will play a big part in strengthening our economy over the next couple of years.”

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