Australian carrier Regional Express (Rex) has fired back at what it called “anonymous malicious attacks” on its safety record.

In a tersely-worded statement, the airline has defended its safety record, saying that it is “second to none”.

Rex was responding to Australian media reports which alleged that the airline had been lax in safety. The Sunday Telegraph published a report submitted to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) in Australia, alleging that Rex pressured its maintenance crew not to report defects.

The Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers’ Association, which was behind the report, had urged the authorities to revoke the airline’s licence to maintain its own planes, effectively grounding its entire fleet. A Rex engineer was allegedly disciplined after he spotted corrosion on a propeller shaft, and was told that he was not meant to inspect that part of the aircraft.

Rex’s chief operating officer Neville Howell pointed the blame on CASA, charging that it was the authority which leaked the information.

“Realising that these baseless accusations are not getting any traction, some are now taking the despicable and cowardly approach of launching anonymous malicious attacks on Rex in the press,” Howell says.

In March 2017, a Rex Saab 340B experienced a propeller separation mid-flight, while operating a flight between Albury and Sydney. All 16 passengers and three crew were unharmed.

Cirium’s Fleets Analzyer shows that Rex operates a fleet of 56 Saab 340Bs, with an average age of 25 years.

Source: Cirium Dashboard