Rex-owned FIFO operator National Jet Express (NJE) has officially launched in Alliance’s home turf of Queensland with the first flight from its new Brisbane base.
Flight NC344 departed Brisbane for Moranbah on Monday morning as the inaugural service for NJE’s contract with mining giant BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA). The carrier will use De Havilland Dash 8-Q400NG aircraft in the state, with a second to be introduced to Queensland next month.
NJE has also signalled its interest in using Embraer E190 jets in Queensland, with a fleet of six already based on the West Coast. Its purchase of two new planes will bring its total Dash 8-Q400 fleet to 10.
“This is a significant milestone for NJE, as it marks the start of our operations in Queensland. We’ve been thrilled to launch this flight from NJE’s new base in Brisbane and we are now truly open for business in Queensland,” said Chris Hine, Managing Director of NJE.
“NJE looks forward to extending the Rex Group’s renowned service reliability delivered with country hospitality to Queensland.”
NJE’s entry into Queensland puts it in competition with Alliance. Rex purchased NJE last year for $48 million after the Flying Kangaroo announced a bid for the rival FIFO operator; that deal, though, was in April nixed by the ACCC.
When the BMA contract was announced in May, Hine said it was a vote of confidence in the airline as a provider of premium air services in the mining and resources sector.
“We are happy to announce that we are officially open for Mining and Resources business in Queensland. NJE will be operating a fleet of modern Dash 8-Q400NG ‘Next Generation’ aircraft, offering jet-like speeds while consuming 50% less fuel and emitting lower levels of carbon,” he said.
“Many mining operators in Queensland have been reaching out to the Rex Group since it purchased NJE in October last year, eager for Rex to replicate its hallmark standards of reliability, professionalism and safety into mining markets.
“I see so much pent-up demand in Queensland for a premium mining and resources air service provider, and the Rex Group will continue procuring additional Dash 8-Q400NGs to meet this need.”