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Rex buys one-fifth of Dovetail Electric Aviation

written by Jake Nelson | April 17, 2023

Rex has taken a 20 per cent stake in Dovetail Electric Aviation, building on its existing strategic partnership with the company.

Dovetail, which is owned by Sydney Aviation Holdings – a firm that also owns tourist operator Sydney Seaplanes – is aiming to retrofit electric turbine engines to existing planes such as Rex’s Saab 340 fleet by 2026.

“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 on 21 July, 2022. Rex will appoint one of its Board members to sit on the Board of Dovetail,” the airline said in a statement.

The airline also noted that Dovetail was earlier this year awarded a $3 million grant through the federal government’s Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) program in order to fast-track development of its electric conversion process.


“This will facilitate Dovetail’s development of electric propulsion systems for aircraft used on regional routes operated by Rex and other regional airlines,” said Rex.

“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.”

Dovetail has been making waves with its talk of electrification and has partnered with Rex to convert several of its 61 Saab 340 turbine aircraft into electric planes. Rex believes the effect could reduce operating costs by 40 per cent – a major change considering the high expense of regional routes.

According to the airline’s deputy chairman John Sharp, one of Rex’s 34-seat Saab 340s – retrofitted with an electric and hydrogen-powered MagniX engine – will be used to trial the technology on short routes such as Adelaide to Mount Gambier by next year.

“We will be doing trials in 2024, with a real aircraft, where we’ll swap out the existing engine, which burns jet fuel,” Sharp told the ABC last year. “And we’ll put in an electric motor that will be supported by a combination of both batteries and hydrogen.”

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