The launch of Rex Airlines flights between Sydney and Canberra will add nearly $200 million to the ACT economy every year, according to a new study.
The regional airline’s first flight from Sydney touched down in Canberra today (19 April), one of seven return flights a day planned by the regional carrier.
Data analysis by public policy evaluation and consultancy firm Urbis, which worked on Canberra Airport’s master plan, also found the economic stimulus the flights would create several hundred jobs.
Rex is pinning its hopes on the introduction of more affordable, $99 one-way fares to break Qantas’s monopoly on the route.
It says this is less than a third of the average price of a Qantas ticket for the same flight.
Deputy Chair John Sharp accused Qantas of gouging the domestic market and said the Canberra-Sydney run was a good example.
“Australia needs Rex if it is to have competitive airline services of a high quality,” he said.
“Qantas’s behaviour has cost the ACT economy enormously. Our $99 fare on the Canberra route is no different from those offered elsewhere on our network, all day and every day.”
Mr Sharp said the flights, which represent an extra 160,000 seats a year, would grow the total market by stimulating new leisure and tourism traffic while also sparking a surge in travellers visiting friends and family.
He said the study showed how valuable a competitive airline offering is to a local economy and a community like the ACT and region.
“Rex’s entry to the Canberra airline market will add 300 jobs here and it will generate economic activity of nearly $200 million just because our competitive pricing will put a stop to Qantas’s gouging of passengers with very high prices,” Mr Sharp said.
“So this is good for local employment, for tourism and all the attractions in the region, and I thank the ACT Government and Canberra Airport for helping to achieve such a great outcome.”
Rex says it is the only domestic airline that offers a full refund for passengers who need to cancel a flight because of a COVID-related reason.
It is Australia’s largest independent regional and domestic airline operating a fleet of 60 Saab 340 and four Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft to 62 destinations throughout all states in Australia.
A Saab 340 operates on the Canberra-Sydney route.