Rex Airlines gears up to tender for role as key aviation provider for AAP.

Rex Airlines, formally known as Regional Express, has announced its intention to contend for the role of the primary aviation provider for the Australian Antarctic Program (AAP). The company has officially responded to a request for information (RFI) tied to the mandate and is currently gearing up for the expected November tender request.

The specifics of the requirement outline the need for one substantial passenger jet, four ski-operating turboprops, and four dual-engine helicopters with the capacity to function from the Australian icebreaker RSV Nuyina. The mandate also entails the ability to manage unmanned air vehicles, predominantly during the October-March timeframe.

Craig Martin, Rex's Antarctic Project Manager, spoke to the company's capabilities, saying, "The intricacy and magnitude of this program necessitate an operator with deep-rooted understanding of the aviation landscape across various platforms and a demonstrable track record of organizational excellence in executing special missions." He further asserted, "The Rex Group, with its proficiency in operating a fleet of 150 aircraft across all Australian states, from Boeing 737-800NG and Embraer E190 airliners to De Havilland Dash 8-400 turboprops, Saab 340 turboprops, Beechcraft King Air aircraft, and the recently introduced Pilatus PC24 jets, is an unparalleled Australian contender for the role."

As for the AAP, they have abstained from commenting on the RFI, the forthcoming tender, or any potential interest from other parties. Rex has given an indication that their proposal will entail a consortium, incorporating industry partners to assist with the specialized elements of the initiative.

At present, the AAP's website denotes that an Airbus A315-115LR, leased from Skytraders, shuttles between Hobart and Wilkins Aerodrome in Antarctica during the Australian summer season. This aircraft's substantial range allows for round-trips without the necessity for refuelling in Antarctica. Furthermore, Boeing C-17 strategic transports operated by the Royal Australian Air Force also serve the Hobart-Wilkins route.

Within Antarctica, air services are provided by Kenn Borek Air, employing ski-equipped Basler BT-67s and De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otters. AAP also utilizes Airbus Helicopter AS350 B3 choppers for various roles, including ice reconnaissance, ship-to-shore cargo transport, and aid for scientists conducting field work.