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Rex to use NJE FIFO planes to improve WA reliability

written by Jake Nelson | September 18, 2023

A render of a National Jet Express (NJE) Dash 8-400NG. (Image: NJE)

Rex is planning to use planes from its FIFO subsidiary, National Jet Express (NJE), to alleviate delays in its regional services.

In a letter to the editor published in Western Australian newspapers, the carrier said it is “truly sorry” for recent disruptions in the state, and said it is continuing to “explore all options” to reduce inconvenience to passengers.

“We have drawn up plans to mobilise the resources of National Jet Express, a joint venture acquisition late last year so that the latter’s aircraft could be used whenever possible if Rex aircraft or pilots are unavailable,” the airline wrote.

“This plan will be implemented as soon as approval is granted by the Department of Transport.

“We also intend to tap into the operations centre of NJE to co-ordinate communications with passengers during disruptions.”


While Rex acknowledged its recent difficulties servicing destinations like Esperance and Carnarvon, which prompted then WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti to say she was “disappointed” in its performance, the carrier said that external challenges to the “entire aviation industry … make it impossible to achieve an acceptable level of reliability”.

“The official government statistics show that for financial year 23, the Rex Group’s On Time Departure was about 75 per cent with the Qantas Group registering 6 per cent lower,” Rex wrote.

“The contrast is even more pronounced for cancellations, with the Qantas Group cancelling 50 per cent more flights than the Rex Group. The Virgin Australia Group recorded an even worse performance than the Qantas Group.

“Unfortunately, we do not foresee the reliability of Australian airlines improving for the foreseeable future.”

The letter comes a month after Rex was re-awarded its contracts for three regulated routes in Western Australia: Perth to Albany, Esperance, and Carnarvon and Monkey Mia.

The airline has proposed increasing seats on Perth–Carnarvon/Monkey Mia by 38 per cent, Perth–Esperance by 22 per cent, and Perth–Albany by four per cent over the current contract.

Rex Group’s executive chairman, Lim Kim Hai, said the airline will do its best to “repay the trust of the WA State Government” by putting “maximum priority” on its services in the state.

“The global supply chain shocks and skilled labour shortages, including pilots and engineers, have severely impacted all airlines and therefore I am acutely aware that Rex’s service levels have not matched the very high standards that Rex delivered in WA since February 2016 until the re-opening after COVID,” he said.

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