Australia’s Regional Express Group (Rex) has announced the formation of its Antarctic Advisory Panel to aid in its bid for the expected request for tender by the government’s Australian Antarctic Program later this year. 

The group, which owns regional passenger airline Rex Airlines, air charter company Pel-Air Aviation, and the Australian Airline Pilot Academy, revealed the six members of its panel who will advise on the company’s response to the expected request for tender in November. 

Executive chairman Lim Kim Hai said that he was confident that the company’s proposal would “exceed the expectations” of the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD). 

He said: “The panellists’ insights and diverse perspectives will undoubtedly contribute to innovative solutions that enhance the safety, effectiveness, and reliability of aviation support operations critical to the success of the AAD’s mission in Antarctica. 

“The panel will also ensure that the AAD will have a solution that is carefully designed to remain adequate for its future needs spanning the next 15-20 years.” 

The panel consists of a number of aviation industry experts, who will advise on specific aspects of the tender, as well as former AAD director Dr Tony Press, an adjunct professor at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania, who will advise on all elements of the company’s bid. 

Other members include Bill English, a pilot with 500 flight hours of dedicated Antarctic helicopter operations for the AAD; Stuart McFadzean, who has been involved in the construction and certification of two ice runways in Antarctica; and Nigel Meadows, a former air force squadron leader with 30 years of experience in military jet aircraft and remotely piloted aircraft systems operations. 

ALCI Aviation flight operations director Andrew Noonan will also advise on the development of intracontinental fixed-wing aircraft capability elements of the tender, and airline check and training captain Craig Martin will assist with the regulatory and intracontinental fixed-wing jet elements. 

The largest regional airline in Australia, outside of the Qantas Group, Rex Airlines has also entered into a Teaming Agreement with Helicopter Resources and Enterprise Aviation to jointly respond to the request for tender which calls for fixed and rotary wing flying. 

Despite being badly affected by the pandemic, according to its own website, Rex has been able to expand its operations in the upcoming years, which include a new Boeing Flight Simulator Centre and new aircraft hangar at its Sydney-based headquarters, which is supported by the New South Wales Government.