Australia’s Regional Express Group – more commonly known as REX Airlines, the brand name it operates under – has taken a 20% equity stake in Dovetail Electric Aviation.
Dovetail Aviation was launched in 2021 as a joint venture between Sydney Aviation Holdings, which operates Sydney Seaplanes, and Spanish aerospace and engineering firm Dante Aeronautical, with the goal of advancing the cause of electric aviation in Australia, Spain and other parts of the world.
In particular, Dovetail is focused on the retrofitting of existing turboprop models with electric and hydrogen-electric fuel cell powerplants.
According to David Doral, founder of Dante Aeronautical: “The addressable market is huge. We estimate that in the global small commuter fleet alone there are more than 11,000 nine to nineteen seat aircraft that are currently capable of being retrofitted, which represents a US$15bn market”.
Dovetail Aviation is currently working to get certification for an integrated system that combines an electric motor, batteries and a hydrogen-fuel cell in one powertrain that can be fitted into converted turboprop aircraft. Dovetail claims the resulting aircraft will be 30-40% quieter and 40% cheaper to operate than the original fossil fuel-powered versions.
Electric motors will be sourced from magniX, for which Dovetail has exclusive distribution rights in Australia, New Zealand and parts of Europe.
This agreement between REX Airlines and Dovetail follows an already standing Memorandum of Understanding signed by both companies in July 2022.
REX Airlines is the largest independent regional carrier in Australia, operating a fleet of 68 aircraft, 61 of which are 36-seater Saab 340 turboprops, on an entirely domestic network.