• Regional Express is one of Australia's largest regional airlines. (Steve Hitchen)
    Regional Express is one of Australia's largest regional airlines. (Steve Hitchen)

Regional Express (Rex) will source pilots, engineers and instructors from overseas despite having its own flying academy here in Australia.

In an annoucement released yesterday, Rex said that the Federal Government had granted them a five-year labour agreement (LA) that would enable the airline to fill projected pilot shortages by recruiting from abroad.

Rex Deputy Chairman, John Sharp AM, said the LA would solve several issues facing the airline.

"The Rex Group is confident the LA will provide much needed assistance in helping us fill up our establishment for pilots and engineers so that we can continue to provide regular, reliable and affordable air services to regional and remote communities throughout our vast Regular Public Transport (RPT) network in every state in Australia,” he said.

β€œThe LA also allows accessibility to more flight instructors and this will bolster our capability to produce more pilots at our state-of-the-art pilot academy, the Australian Airline Pilot Academy (AAPA), based in Wagga Wagga, NSW, thereby perpetuating the cycle of pilots to meet the needs of the Rex Group and the broader aviation industry in Australia."

Sharp also said that despite the LA, Rex would continue to source pilots, instructors and engineers in Australia as a priority.

"The Rex Group will continue its search for skilled workers in Australia and is 100% committed to supporting local employment by ensuring that the employment of Australian workers will take precedence over skilled workers from overseas.

"For example, Rex has gone to extraordinary lengths to overcome the critical shortage of pilots by establishing a pilot academy over 10 years ago to train local cadets to be airline pilots with Rex – something which even Qantas or Virgin Australia has not done to this day.”

The LA enables Rex to recruit overseas pilots, maintenance engineersand instructors who satisfy prescribed conditions under the Temporary Skills Shortage visa (TSS) subclass 482.

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