Rex to launch $69 Melbourne-Canberra flights from June 10

Qantas and Virgin Australia are set to see fresh competition on the capital city corridor.

By David Flynn, May 18 2021
Rex to launch $69 Melbourne-Canberra flights from June 10

Regional airline Rex will add another route to its growing intercity network with double-daily services between Melbourne and Canberra taking off from June 10.

And unlike the Sydney-Canberra flights on Rex's Saab turboprops, the Melbourne-Canberra run will be made on a Boeing 737 with both business and economy class seating.

Rex is also aiming to sting incumbents Qantas and Virgin Australia with launch fares of $69 for a one-way economy fare, which the carrier says is "$123 cheaper than the lowest airfare available in May, according to official Federal Government statistics."

"We are sure that both Qantas and Virgin Australia will immediately match our fares as they have done every time," predicts Rex Deputy Chairman  John Sharp, who described Qantas' pricing on the route as "price gouging, ripping off passengers with sky-high fares on a route with only a weak competitor to keep it honest."

At the time of publication, Qantas' entry-level Melbourne-Canberra fares on June 10 stood at $218, with Virgin starting from $185; Virgin later slashed its fares from June 10 to match Rex's $69 offer, while Qantas dropped back to $99.

Executive Traveller review: What's it like to fly Rex Boeing 737 business class?

Rex sees its mixed fleet as helping find the right fit for Canberra.
Rex sees its mixed fleet as helping find the right fit for Canberra.

Rex launched Sydney-Canberra flights just four weeks ago, with seven return flights on its workhorse 33-seat all-economy Saab 340B turboprops, although the airline has scope to swap in the larger Boeing 737 jets – with eight seats in business class and 168 in economy – during the morning and afternoon peak hours based on demand.

Canberra's former international departures lounge has been adapted as a Rex lounge with its own bar and café dining area, and made available to every passenger.

So what's the Rex Boeing 737 experience like? Find out with our independent Executive Traveller reviews:

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1021

What is a Saab jet?

It seems a strange approach.  MEL-CBR is largely a business sector where REX competes worst due to frequency limitations, lack of FF program and lack of lounges.  REX's opportunity is on leisure sectors partly claiming the space previously occupied by Tiger as well as carving out some new routes for itself.

20 Oct 2015

Total posts 225

As much as I welcome competition on any route, I can't help but think this is going to end badly for Rex. Their 'strategy' seems almost ad hoc. At first it was SYD-MEL, then add on BNE to complete the three points of the east coast 'triangle'. Sure, that's a super competitive market but it's also where the demand is, so in theory Rex would have the best chance of skimming off some passengers. Then  pivoting to Adelaide and the Gold Coast seemed to be more about leisure flyers due to a drop in demand for business travel, and I suppose that makes sense. But Canberra is a pretty slim market, and they're launching these new flights as winter hits? It's not like any body will be rushing to swap Canberra winter for Melbourne winter, so I really don't know what Rex is thinking here. As I said, I welcome competition and am sure a lot of people will take advantage of the low fares, but Rex seems determined to fly itself into the ground.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 462

A significant number of passengers use CBR airport in winter for access to the NSW ski fields.

Still not REX flights out of Brisbane. Wonder what's up with that.

26 Aug 2019

Total posts 2

Rex haven't launched Brisbane as BAC aren't prepared to bow down to Rex's demands. One of the reasons Gold Coast was launched was due to the fact they were more willing to accept Rex and their demands. Personally, I support Brisbane not allowing Rex to do what they want especially considering VA is based in Brisbane so its more a loss to Rex then Brisbane.

Be interested to hear these demands, if you know

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 462

I don't know the specifics, but apparently Rex wanted BNE to waive all landing and terminal fees - in effect having BNE pay Rex to fly there, rather than the normal situation of the airline paying the airport to land there. 

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1409

The Rex ‘free’ Canberra lounge is a little bit smoke and mirrors. It is free to enter and then they charge double the downstairs prices for a drink.


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