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National Jet Express begins FIFO flights to Gladstone

written by Jake Nelson | February 26, 2024

NJE is expanding its use of the Dash 8 Q400. (Image: NJE)

Rex’s FIFO subsidiary National Jet Express (NJE) has commenced new weekly charter flights to Gladstone, continuing to Rockhampton.

Using De Havilland Dash 8-400NG (“Next Generation”) aircraft, the flights, supporting NJE client Air Charter Service, will serve a growing mining, resources and industrial centre in Gladstone. Gladstone Airport will be NJE’s seventh destination in Queensland.

“These aircraft are the perfect fit to support the mining, resources and construction industries across Queensland, and are in stark contrast to some of the ageing 20-30-year-old aircraft operated by a number of NJE’s competitors,” said NJE in a press release.

“Given the ongoing strong demand for NJE’s reliable and cost-effective services, NJE is committing to growing its fleet of Dash 8-400NG and Embraer E190 aircraft in Queensland and across Australia. Additional aircraft will join the NJE fleet before the end of this financial year.

Rex is the largest operator of regular public transport (RPT) services in rural and regional Queensland, with a total of 24 destinations, and also serves the state with its 737-800 services from Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Cairns.

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The launch of Gladstone services comes eight months after NJE began operations in Queensland, the traditional heartland of its rival Alliance.

“NJE’s growing presence in Queensland will allow the Rex Group as a whole to further expand on opportunities across charter and RPT services,” the airline said.

At the time Rex purchased NJE in 2022, deputy chairman John Sharp told The Australian Financial Review, “The mining industry doesn’t want to be dominated by Qantas, and it wants a strong, healthy competitor because, if the market is dominated by Qantas, Qantas will gouge the market.

“So, our role will be to ensure the mining industry has choices.”

Rex’s executive chairman, Lim Kim Hai, called FIFO a “booming sector” in Australia that is set to experience strong growth.

“With this acquisition, Rex will have a FIFO arm that is simply unparalleled in Australia,” he said.

Lim added the company would “naturally be the partner of choice for resource companies all over Australia” who have been “crying out for so long for a FIFO provider that is able to address their triple priorities of minimal impact on the environment, comfort, the safety of its staff, and reliability of service”.

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