Rex - Regional Express (ZL, Wagga Wagga) will enter into a joint venture with Helicopter Resources Pty Ltd (Heli Resources) involving up to four twin-engine helicopters as Rex readies to tender to supply fixed and rotary wing capacity to the Australian government's Antarctic Division (AAD).

Under the agreement, Rex will serve as the prime contractor and Heli Resources as the sub-contractor. Based at Hobart Cambridge aerodrome, Heli Resources has operated in Antarctica since 1975, supporting various nations' Antarctic programs, including for the AAD. The operator says it has accrued over 35,000 flying hours in Antarctica. "Our extensive knowledge and experience ensure we have all the required equipment to support long-duration Antarctic missions," its website reads. "We specialize in all aspects of Antarctic aviation, including ship-based science and resupply voyages and station or remote field camp logistics and scientific support."

The operator flies nine helicopters, including four Airbus H125s, two Airbus AS350B2s, two Kawasaki BK117s, and one 212 Bell Helicopter. “There is no other helicopter operator with as much experience operating in the Antarctic," said Rex’s Antarctic Project Manager, Craig Martin. "The Rex Group cannot have hoped for a better partner for the complementary helicopter capability elements anticipated in the tender."

Rex is chasing an upcoming multi-million dollar tender to support the AAD. Presently, the Australian government agency primarily relies on the Royal Australian Air Force (ASY, Richmond, QL) and commercial operator Skytraders (SND, Sydney Kingsford Smith) for fixed wing capacity. Rex's bold bid is a step outside its normal field of operations - regular passenger transport, cargo, and aeromedical flights. However, it continues a recent trend of diversifying operations and revenue streams. In 2021, Rex commenced jet operations using B737-800s and recently ferried in its eighth jet ahead of starting flights to Hobart International. Last year, the Rex Group acquired National Jet Express (JTE, Adelaide International) and, with it, a stake in Australia's lucrative fly-in-fly-out closed charter market. Last month, while taking up Rex's prospects and citing the group's long-running experience in special missions (primarily aeromedical and Department of Defence), Martin called the potential AAD work "ambitious and challenging."