Mon. Jan 17th, 2022

A Rex Saab 340B, VH-RXX msn 340B-209, shot by Victor Pody in Melbourne (YMML)

Rex has doubled its claims that Qantas has overcharged customers flying to Canberra when it launched its own competing service today.

“Qantas has stung the domestic market and Canberra is a very good example of that,” said Rex Vice President John Sharp. “Qantas’ behavior has cost the ACT economy enormously.”

The two companies have been involved for several months in a tit-to-tat argument over the launch of new services, starting with Rex accusing the flag bearer of using “predator” tactics to compete with it on previously exclusive routes. Qantas reacted by arguing that its minor rival threw a “tantrum”.

Today, Rex started flying from Sydney to ACT for the first time on the first of seven return flights every weekday. The debut service was a Rex Saab 340B, VH-ZRY msn 340B-401, which left Sydney at. 7:12 as flight ZL1813 and landed in Canberra at. 7:50.

“Australia needs Rex if it is to have competitive, high-quality airlines,” Sharp said. “Our $ 99 fare on the Canberra route is no different from those offered elsewhere on our network, all day and every day.”

Rex currently sells one-way tickets for $ 99, which it claims are “less than a third” of the average Qantas ticket for a similar flight. On Thursday, April 19, Qantas will be selling direct tickets from $ 219 on its larger 717 and smaller Dash 8.

Previously, the route was operated exclusively by Qantas after Virgin withdrew, although its domestic rival intends to restart the service soon in a partnership with the Alliance.

Rex also marked the launch of the new route by claiming that the new service would provide a direct annual financial boost of nearly $ 200 million to ACT.

“Rex’s entry into the Canberra airline market will add 300 jobs here, and it will generate almost $ 200 million in economic activity just because our competitive prices will stop Qantas’ inundation of passengers with very high prices,” Sharp said.

In response, Qantas said: “Unlike Rex, we welcome competition on the routes we fly and we are confident in the product we offer.

“There has been strong competition at Sydney-Canberra until very recently, when Virgin withdrew when they went into administration. Our initial fare on the route has not changed since then and we have recently had sale prices for as low as $ 109.

“As we have done for decades, we will continue to provide high quality and reliable service with regular flights available all day between Sydney and Canberra for government, business and leisure travelers.”

The rift between the two airlines began in February when Rex accused Qantas of uncompetitive behavior by launching rival services on its previously exclusive routes, which it said caused it to discontinue five separate regional services. These have now been reintroduced.

Sharp outlined his case in a Senate committee, saying the routes Qantas is moving to are too small to make money on.

“They do it because they want to swamp us, push us out of our traditional marketplace and hurt us financially, so that in turn hurts our expansion in the domestic market,” he said.

But the day after Sharp first made those comments, ACCC chairman Rod Sims backed Qantas at a separate hearing in the same Senate committee.

Despite the argument, the flagship plowed on and formally launched flights on some of the disputed routes, and Rex continued even with his own plan to launch capital routes.

“Rex’s idea of ​​competition is that it’s something that happens to other people because they believe they have an entrenched right to be the sole carrier on some regional routes,” Qantas said.

Rex’s expansion to Canberra follows the launch of new routes to the Gold Coast and Adelaide as well as Sydney and Melbourne.

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