Rex-owned FIFO operator National Jet Express is expanding into the Alliance heartland of Queensland after signing a deal with mining company BHP Mitsubishi Alliance.
NJE will purchase two Dash 8-Q400NG aircraft to service the market and is slated to start operations in the Sunshine State as soon as 1 July.
It presents yet another twist in the ongoing battle by major airlines over Fly In Fly Out routes.
Chris Hine, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of NJE said the BMA contract is 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. We are also open to introducing the Embraer E190 jets in Queensland as we already have a large fleet of these on the West Coast.”
At the time Rex purchased NJE, deputy chairman John Sharp told the AFR, “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”.