Meet Rex, Australia's Regional Express Airlines
Author: Australis Gifts Date Posted:9 December 2019
Who Is Rex
If you are flying to regional parts of Australia there is a good chance that one of the airlines that flies there is Regional Express Airlines - locally known as Rex.
First You Have to Meet Hazelton
Hazelton Airlines started in 1953 with a single aircraft servicing rural stock and station agents in the Central West area around Orange in NSW. Max Hazelton - the founder, grew the business transporting newspapers, other freight and agricultural operations so that by the 1970's Hazelton was one of the largest aerial agricultural operators in Australia. It wasn't until 1975 that Hazelton commenced its first scheduled passenger flight between Orange and Canberra, and in 1979 started flying in to Sydney. In 1993 Hazelton Airlines became a publicly listed company, was carrying 250,000 passengers per year and had 15 aircraft. In 2001 Hazelton had revenue of approx. $69m per year and Ansett became owner of Hazelton.
Then You Have to Meet Kendell
Kendell Airlines started out as Premiair Aviation in 1967. Started by Don and Eilish Kendell as a charter service and flying school and then an aircraft maintenance service at Wagga Wagga in NSW. Premiair commenced its first scheduled passenger service in 1971 between Wagga Wagga, Corryong, and Melbourne after Ansett pulled out of that route. As other routes became uneconomical for Ansett's larger aircraft Premiair was able to fill the gap taking over those routes and also those of smaller operators. In 1983 Premiair changed its name to Kendell Airlines (after the founders) and in 1985 took delivery of the southern hemisphere's first Saab 340A aircraft with 34 seats. In 1986 Kendell Airlines doubled its network size by taking over Ansett's South Australian network. In 1990 the Kendells' sold the airline to companies associated with TNT (Peter Abeles) and News Group (Rupert Murdoch) who had control of Ansett Airlines. In 1996 Kendell was flying up to 13 return flights a day between Sydney and Canberra on behalf of Ansett, and soon to other regional centres with Saab 340 aircraft painted with Ansett livery. By the late 1990's Kendell was flying a million passengers per year on 1,000 flights per week. Kendell took delivery of 12 Bombardier CRJ-200ER jets between 1999 and 2001.
Rex Is Born
Ansett Airlines was the second largest airline in Australia when it collapsed in 2001. Both Hazelton Airlines and Kendell Airlines were subsidiaries of Ansett at the time of the collapse with Kendell flying 12 Bombardier CRJ-200ER aircraft and Kendell and Hazelton flying 16 Saab 340 aircraft. Both Hazelton and Kendell Airlines were profitable flying regional routes before joining Ansett. After the Ansett collapse and with the agreement of company administrators, the government, staff and unions a group of businessmen purchased Hazelton Airlines and Kendell Airlines (excl. the Bombardier CRJ-200ER jets) and merged them together to form Regional Express Airlines (Rex). As of June 2019 Rex had a fleet of 57 Saab 340 aircraft flying to 60 destinations across all Australian states, excluding the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.
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