New era as first Rex Saab 340 arrives in Western Australia

VH-ZRZ Saab 340B (MSN 588) owned by Regional Express (REX), at Perth Airport - Wed 24 February 2016. * FIRST VISIT TO PERTH * The first Rex aircraft to visit Perth, this aircraft will now be based in Western Australia, to operate flights between Perth and the southern towns of Albany and Esperance. These will replace Virgin Australia Regional Airlines' Fokker 50s that operate the service until 27 February 2016 before being retired and sold. VH-ZRZ was flown over from Wagga Wagga via Ceduna to Albany the previous day, and is seen here on approach to runway 21 at Perth at 09:38. VH-ZRZ was originally test flown as SE-C88 in March 1996 before being delivered to American Eagle as N388AE. It was acquired by Rex in April 2008. Photo © Ben Cambridge
VH-ZRZ Saab 340B (MSN 340B-388) owned by Regional Express (REX), at Perth Airport – Wed 24 February 2016.
* FIRST VISIT TO PERTH * The first Rex aircraft to visit Perth, this aircraft will now be based in Western Australia, to operate flights between Perth and the southern towns of Albany and Esperance. These will replace Virgin Australia Regional Airlines’ Fokker 50s that operate the service until 27 February 2016 before being retired and sold. VH-ZRZ was flown over from Wagga Wagga via Ceduna to Albany the previous day, and is seen here on approach to runway 21 at Perth at 09:38. VH-ZRZ was originally test flown as SE-C88 in March 1996 before being delivered to American Eagle as N388AE. It was acquired by Rex in April 2008.
Photo © Ben Cambridge
VH-ZLF SAAB 340B (MSN 340B-374) of Regional Express Pty Ltd (REX) at Perth Airport – 24 Feb 2016.
VH-ZLF SAAB 340B (MSN 340B-374) of Regional Express Pty Ltd (REX) at Perth Airport – 24 Feb 2016.
First visit to Perth, this is the second REX SAAB 340B to arrive today to take up a contract flying services from Perth to Albany and Esperance and return. The aircraft is seen here on finals for runway 24 at 4:43 pm.
Photo © Keith Anderson. (Photographed using Canon Camera and Lens)

24 February 2016 © David Eyre

The first of three Saab 340B aircraft of Regional Express (Rex) to be based in Western Australia arrived in Perth today, ahead of the commencement of services to Esperance and Albany on Sunday 28 February 2016.

As reported in AviationWA, Virgin Australia Regional Airlines the south west services were reduced in December 2014. The State Government’s regulated routes were put up for tender in July 2015, as the current contracts were due to expire on 27 February 2016. In September 2015, Virgin announced that it would not be bidding for the routes, as they are not economically viable for Fokker 50 aircraft. Virgin confirmed in October 2015 that it would cease flights to Albany, Esperance and Ravensthorpe on 27 February 2016, when its contract with the WA government ends, and all Fokker 50s are being withdrawn from service and sold.

In August 2015, locally-based Skippers Aviation and Sydney-based Rex responded to the tender. In November 2015, it was announced that Rex had won the tender for the Perth-Albany and Perth-Esperance routes.

The first Rex Saab 340B aircraft, VH-ZRZ, was flown from Wagga Wagga via Ceduna to Albany on 23 February 2016, and to Perth this morning. It was followed later in the day by VH-ZLF.

The smaller capacity of the Saab 340s means that Rex does not require additional security infrastructure at Albany or Esperance, and this saves at least $20 per ticket. The airline will use more frequent flights to provide a similar number of seats on the routes.

Rex will operate from Perth Airport’s Terminal 2.

David Eyre

President, Aviation Association of WA Inc

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