• National Jet Express, a member of the Rex Group, is expanding its fleet with the addition of a ninth De Havilland Dash 8-400 turboprop aircraft. This will support its long-term contract with BHP Mitsubishi Alliance in Queensland.
  • The increased capacity provided by the new aircraft will enable more flights to the mining community of Moranbah.
  • NJE is in negotiations for additional contracts in the mining and construction industries, which could result in the expansion of its services across other areas of Queensland.

While its domestic 737s and regional Saab 340s are the most visible parts of the Rex Group, much more is happening within the aviation group than just scheduled passenger flights. The Rex Group is also a 50% shareholder of National Jet Express, which specializes in a range of services for the resources industry in remote parts of Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Supporting resource communities in Queensland

Today, Rex Group member National Jet Express (NJE) is in the news because the airline will shortly take delivery of its ninth De Havilland Dash 8-400 turboprop. The additional aircraft will head straight to its base at Brisbane Airport (BNE) and be used on NJE's long-term contract with BHP Mitsubishi Alliance in outback Queensland.

National Jet Express Dash 8-Q400NG
Photo: Dylan Hardie

NJE commenced flying for the mining giant on July 1, and this latest aircraft will be the second operating in support of the contract. The 82-seat passenger turboprop will enter service on October 1, and the extra capacity will mean more flights to the mining community of Moranbah in the Bowen Basin, which is located around 1000 kilometers (622 miles) north of Brisbane. NJE Managing Director Chris Hine said:

"We have been delighted by the response we have received to our commencement of Dash 8-400NG services from July. Based on the demand we are seeing, we fully expect to further grow our Queensland based fleet in 2024."

NJE also said it's in the advanced stages of negotiation for two further contracts in the mining and construction industries, which are expected to see Dash 8-400NG services expand across other areas of Queensland. As the current network map shows, NJE's services are concentrated in Western Australia, South Australia, and Papua New Guinea. The Queensland base is an exciting part of its development in the resource-rich state of Queensland.

National Jet Express Route Map
Map: National Jet Express

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Seamless connections around Australia

In May, NJE announced it had secured the contract with BHP Mitsubishi Alliance and moved extremely quickly to establish a new base in Brisbane and be ready to commence services on July 3. The passenger services operate from Brisbane Airport to Moranbah Airport (MOV), a single-runway airport owned and operated by the BHP Mitsubishi Alliance.

Adding the Brisbane-Moranbah flights brings NJE's charter, fly-in fly-out (FIFO), and freight network to 37 destinations, supplemented by the Rex Group's passenger services to 24 regional and rural Queensland destinations. The flights also bring seamless connections around Australia to Rex's 57 destinations serviced by its Boeing 737 domestic and Saab 340 regional aircraft.

Rex on tarmac
Photo: Rex 

One look at the network map shows that NJE operates in very different environments, and to do that effectively, it has a mix of jet and turboprop planes within its fleet. Apart from the nine De Havilland Dash 8-400s, NJE uses six Embraer E190 jets to service mining and resource operations across the country and three De Havilland Dash 8-100 aircraft for FIFO operations in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and between PNG and Cairns.

National Jet Express will operate E190's and Q400's.
Photo: National Jet Express

It also operates four British Aerospace BAe 146s for night freight services between Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, and the Gold Coast. National Jet Express was founded in 1994 and has been part of the Rex Group since October 1, 2022.

Other businesses within the Rex Group include airfreight, aeromedical and charter operator Pel-Air Aviation, Australian Aerospace Propellor Maintenance, and the Australian Airline Pilot Academy. The pilot academy has campuses in Wagga Wagga (New South Wales) and Ballarat in Victoria and has pilot training approvals from Australia, Vietnam, Singapore, China and the Gulf States.