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The Hon. John Anderson
Minister for Transport and Regional Development (1998-2005)
Deputy Prime Minister (1999-2005)
The journey that Rex has undertaken to celebrate this milestone has indeed been a tremendous one. Rex was born in the most trying of circumstances 10 years ago and having been there at the start, I have had the opportunity to appreciate all the challenges that it has faced to reach this day.
The commitment that I witnessed from the Hazelton and Kendell Airlines staff in the days after the Ansett collapse to save their airline is a special one. It seems that this same commitment has proliferated through Rex as everyone has worked together wonderfully to build the company of today.
In just a decade, Rex has achieved much on the Australian aviation front - growing the Company with two specialised charter subsidiaries, establishing a pilot training academy in the heart of regional NSW in Wagga Wagga as well as being recognised both locally and internationally with awards. These have all been accomplished while maintaining a firm commitment to the regional communities, not unlike Hazelton and Kendell Airlines back in the day.
Regional Australia has benefitted from Rex’s success with the increased accessibility it has provided by growing its network, participation in key community events as well as job creation with some key functions still maintained in regional towns such as Wagga Wagga and Orange NSW.
I am glad to have been part of the Government who played a role in the birth of Rex, which has led to the past decade of such accomplishments.
On this note, I heartily congratulate everyone in Rex on their great work and may we see more successful milestones being set in the near future.
The Hon. Mark Vaile
Deputy Prime Minister (2005-2007)
Minister for Transport and Regional Services (2006-2007)
May I take this opportunity to congratulate all at Rex; Board, Management and especially all the staff for the outstanding service and commitment to Regional Australia and particularly regional NSW over the past 10 years.
In 2002 with the collapse of Ansett and with it the regional carriers Hazelton and Kendall Airlines, there was a real risk that many parts of Regional NSW would be left without reliable airservices or at best no competition in air services. Many communities already being ravaged by drought could have been severely affected by losing a key transport link.
Fortunately with the assistance of the government of the day, Rex was established. In those early days the government wanted to ensure that there was a strong and sustainable regional carrier and we proudly put in place support mechanisms to ensure this happened. This support is just being removed now as Rex has become a viable and competitive carrier.
Today Rex is an icon in regional Australia with a fleet of 51 Saab aircraft servicing 35 regional destinations across the eastern states. Rex has established the Australian Airline Pilot Academy at Wagga Wagga which not only trains future pilots for Rex but just as importantly provides an opportunity for aspiring pilots from within Australia - another great investment in regional NSW.
I am proud to be associated with the great success story that is Rex, both originally as the Minister responsible, and now as a regional consumer heavily reliant on Rex services between home and Sydney.
Congratulations to all at Rex!
The Hon. Warren Truss MP
Leader of the Nationals
Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport
Minister for Transport and Regional Services (2005-2006)
From the dark days of aviation in this country a decade ago, Rex rose from the ashes. In the aftermath of the Ansett collapse and the collateral damage that swept up regional airlines like Hazelton and Kendell, Rex emerged to defy the critics and become one of the world’s most successful regional airlines.
It was a success that came against the odds. Rex began at a time when events like September 11 drove global confidence in aviation to an all time low and regional Australia was in the early stages of a debilitating decade of drought. Regional air services were failing, especially in south eastern Australia, leaving families, businesses and entire communities stranded and set to be left without vital links to capital cities and the rest of the world.
Over the 10 years since that time, Rex has established itself as a great friend of country Australia, committed to providing reliable, efficient and friendly air services to the regions. These services are all the more vital given the modern reality that in the most urbanised nation in the world, local airports in regional Australia have become community lifelines, providing the conduit to professional, community and medical services.
It has not always been clear skies but Rex has succeeded because it has been creative and innovative and it has been built on a strong business model. When the airline was critically affected by Australia’s pilot shortage, Rex responded by establishing its own pilot training academy. Reaffirming its commitment to regional Australia, that academy was established in the heart of regional New South Wales, in Wagga Wagga.
I congratulate Rex – its pilots, flight attendants, ground crews, staff, board and management – on this important milestone. Regional Australians appreciate your dedication to maintaining services to and from the places where we live.
Wishing all at Rex safe flying and many happy returns.
The Hon. Simon Crean MP
Minister for Regional Australia,
Regional Development and Local Government / Minister for the Arts
Congratulations to Regional Express (Rex) for 10 years of flying. This anniversary marks a great achievement for an airline born from adversity, which through a combination of a diverse business model, good management, great service and strong partnerships, has become a champion of the regions.
The Australian Government is positioning the regions to seize future opportunities for economic growth and diversification, and we continue to invest in the infrastructure that helps get regional airlines off the ground. We have partnered with Rex, Airservices Australia, Wagga Wagga City Council and the Australian Airline Pilot Academy to support pilot training.
Rex has established a strong partnership with regional Australia. It is connecting families over vast distances, bringing business and economic growth to regional centres and providing a vital link in the supply chain.
It has assisted a number of communities hit hard by bushfire and flooding disasters since 2008. Rex has also donated air services to community organisations, relief agencies and individuals needing to get in and out of affected areas and has carried out major fundraising activities.
In return for this service, the regions have embraced Rex as their own. The familiar sight of a Saab 340 touching down at the local airport is a source of confidence and connectedness in regional Australia.
The Hon. Martin Ferguson AM MP
Minister for Resources and Energy / Minister for Tourism
I would like to congratulate Regional Express (Rex) on celebrating its 10th anniversary.
Rex has built on decades of success enjoyed by Hazelton and Kendell Airlines and provided much-needed optimism following the collapse of parent company Ansett.
Rex has played a key role in supporting regional tourism and has formed partnerships with local tourism authorities to increase awareness of the tourism opportunities in regional Australia.
It has also provided valuable sponsorship to community events aimed at attracting visitors and raising funds for worthy causes.
The airline is in a strong position to take advantage of the expected growth in domestic and international visits to regional Australia during the next few years.
The Hon. Bob Baldwin MP
Shadow Minister for Tourism and Regional Development / Federal Member for Paterson
I would like to congratulate Regional Express (Rex) on its tenth anniversary. It is a great achievement particularly at a time when many airlines have been ‘doing it tough’ and several well-known carriers are no longer in business.
I along with my Coalition colleagues want to see Rex continue to thrive particularly as it provides such a vital service for regional and rural Australia, without which many communities could be left condemned to isolation and economic stagnation. With much of Australia’s current growth coming from the regions, including Newcastle Airport the Coalition recognises the role that regional aviation will play in transporting workers sourced from elsewhere. I want to assure you that a future Coalition government will support regional aviation. We understand that it is a capital intensive business that requires high cash flow and we will actively seek to reduce the burden that Rex and other carriers bear of various taxes and costs impositions.
On a more personal note, I have always found Rex offering a very reliable, comfortable and pleasant service. To everyone at Rex, from the Executive Chairman Lim Kim Hai and my good friend Deputy Chairman The Hon. John Sharp, to Garry Filmer and the entire staff, I would like to reiterate my congratulations on reaching ten years and look forward to Rex’s next decade being even more profitable and successful.