Pel-Air Aviation (PFY, Sydney Kingsford Smith), the charter subsidiary of Rex - Regional Express (ZL, Wagga Wagga), is procuring two PC-24s for a new 10-year fixed-wing air ambulance contract with New South Wales Ambulance (NSWA) using funds allocated in the state government's budget for an improved mix of aircraft in the state's air ambulance fleet, the company announced.

The operations phase of the contract commences on January 1, 2022, with the introduction of five new Beech (twin turboprop) King Air B350s. The two Pilatus PC-24 jets will be taken into service in the second half of 2023 and will replace two of the five King Air B350s for the rest of the 10-year operational phase. The aircraft was chosen due to its ability to travel long distances at very high speed and to land at narrow, unpaved runways of only 11m width, the Rex Group said in a statement.

The PC-24 jets will be modified by Pilatus Aircraft (PCH, Buochs) in Switzerland, and in New South Wales to equip them for critical care mission requirements, including standard patient transfers, newborn and paediatric emergency transport, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation operations, intra-aortic balloon pump operations, bariatric patient operations, over-water aeromedical transfers, and major incident responses.

Pel-Air chairman John Sharp said the air ambulance service for the first time would be operated with a mixed fleet. "All five new King Air B350s have been delivered in-country on time despite the challenges of COVID and we are well on track to start operations in six months’ time,” he added.

An air freight, aeromedical, and charter operator, Pel-Air is the incumbent operator of a similar contract for Ambulance Victoria. It currently operates a fleet of three S340A(F)s, according to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module. It also has six IAI 1124 business jets, four Beech Super King Air B300Cs, and four Beech Super King Air B200Cs in its fleet, according to the Australian aircraft register.

Apart from Sydney, it operates from Adelaide, Brisbane Int'l, Mackay, Melbourne Tullamarine, and Townsville.

Rex is Australia’s largest independent regional and domestic airline operating a fleet of 63 aircraft, including one S340A, thirty S340Bs, and twenty-four S340B(Plus), as well as six B737-800s, according to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module. It serves 61 destinations throughout the country