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Rex lines up second partnership for Antarctic bid

written by Jake Nelson | August 15, 2023

Enterprise Aviation Group has operated Antarctic flights since 2001. (Image: Enterprise Aviation Group)

Rex is pushing ahead with its bid for the Australian Antarctic Division’s (AAD) upcoming tender, inking a deal with Canada-based Enterprise Aviation Group.

The partnership with Enterprise, which has flown Antarctic services in a fleet of DHC-6 Twin Otter and DC-3T Basler aircraft since 2001, follows a similar announcement earlier this month of an exclusive partnership with Helicopter Resources Pty Ltd.

The joint venture will see Rex and Enterprise deliver and operate intracontinental fixed-wing turboprop aviation services as required in the AAD’s request for information ahead of the opening up of the tender process. Rex has indicated it wants to partner with more specialised providers like Enterprise and Helicopter Resources to manage areas of the program that require different expertise.

“Enterprise brings unparalleled contemporary knowledge and operational expertise to the table. As we work to identify and bring the next generation of intracontinental fixed-wing turboprop aircraft into service for the AAD, Enterprise’s deep experience will ensure delivery of a safe, effective and efficient enhancement to the AAD’s intracontinental fixed-wing turboprop aircraft capabilities,” said Rex’s Antarctic project manager, Craig Martin.

Enterprise Aviation Group’s director and chief pilot, Brian Burchartz, said the company is “honoured” to subcontract its services to Rex, and points to its polar track record of over 27,000 accident-free hours in the past decade.


“Our long-term experience operating in Antarctica, which includes many firsts, coupled with our contemporary Antarctic operations of the Twin Otter and Basler aircraft conducting both tourism support activities and scientific mission support for numerous government agencies, positions us well in our combined effort to providing the best solution for enhancing the current intracontinental fixed-wing turboprop component of the AAD capabilities,” he said.

Rex expressed interest last month in becoming the new aerial operator for the AAD, which is looking to bring together its specialised aerial operations under one operator. It is seeking expanded capabilities including a large intercontinental aircraft, four intracontinental turboprops with skis, four twin-engine helicopters that can operate on land and ship, and a “significant scaling up” of Uncrewed Aerial System (UAS) capability.

Currently, the AAD sees flights operate during the summer between Hobart and Antarctica’s Wilkins Aerodrome, 70km from Casey Station, using an Airbus A319 leased and operated by specialist aviation services provider Skytraders, which has held the contract since 2002.

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