18 May 2021

Rex takes on Qantas with $69 fare to Melbourne

| Ian Bushnell
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Rex Boeing 737

Rex will fly Boeing 737s on the Canberra-Melbourne route. Photo: Rex.

Canberrans will be able to fly to Melbourne for $69 from next month as Rex continues its rollout of routes in its price war with Qantas.

Rex has announced it will begin flying between Melbourne and Canberra from 10 June, operating a twice-daily return service on a Boeing 737-800NG jet.

It says the $69 one-way economy fares are $123 cheaper than the lowest airfare available in May, according to official Federal Government statistics.

The new Melbourne-Canberra service will bring 200,000 annual seats to the route and represents the latest addition to Rex’s rapidly expanding domestic network.

It follows last month’s launch of the Sydney-Canberra route on which Rex operates seven return flights each weekday.

More than a million people travelled between the two capital cities each year pre-COVID and return flights on Qantas can cost more than $900.

Rex says that a return Qantas flight this Queen’s Birthday long weekend will cost travellers as much as $928.28.

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Rex deputy chairman John Sharp accused Qantas of price gouging and said that Rex’s entry on that route would keep it and Virgin honest.

“We are sure that both Qantas and Virgin Australia will immediately match our fares as they have done every time,” he said.

“We estimate that Rex’s entry will save Canberrans over $150 million a year in lower fares once travel returns to pre-COVID levels. This is on top of an equivalent amount for the Sydney-Canberra route.”

Mr Sharp said the savings would make a big difference to many families and would be funnelled into the local economy, create more jobs, and boost the tourism and hospitality industries in the ACT.

He said the cheap fare would make it affordable for Canberrans to visit friends and family and attend sporting events in Melbourne.

Rex says the $69 fare includes free checked baggage and onboard refreshments on its full-service flights.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr welcomed Rex Airlines investment in the Canberra-Melbourne route, saying it will be a major boost to competition on one of the city’s busiest aviation routes.

He said it would make it easier and significantly cheaper for Melbourne people to visit Canberra.

“It is a further vote of confidence in Canberra’s tourism and hospitality industry, and both leisure and business travellers will welcome today’s announcement,” Mr Barr said.

Canberra Airport CEO Stephen Byron said: “This announcement cements Rex’s commitment to Canberra and the region, now servicing our two biggest markets – Sydney and Melbourne – and provides choice and a tremendous opportunity for the people of Canberra and Melbourne.”

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Crystal ball says qantas will undercut Rex, Rex will cease route, Qantas will max out the price again

That’s what happened in 2003.

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