Rex’s FIFO subsidiary, National Jet Express (NJE), is taking delivery of its ninth 82-seat de Havilland Dash 8-400NG turboprop aircraft.
The plane will be the second deployed to support NJE’s new Queensland services under its long-term contract with mining giant BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA), which started on 1 July. Slated to enter service in October, it will operate between Brisbane and the town of Moranbah in the Bowen Basin.
According to NJE managing director Chris Hine, the FIFO operator is in “advanced stages of negotiation” for two more mining and construction contracts in Queensland.
“We have been delighted by the response we have received to our commencement of Dash 8-400NG services from July,” he said.
“Based on the demand we are seeing, we fully expect to further grow our Queensland-based fleet in 2024.”
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 nixed by the ACCC in April.
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.”