Travellers will be the winners in an airfare war being waged over the Sydney-Melbourne skies between Qantas, Virgin Australia and new challenger Regional Express.
Ahead of its launch of Boeing 737 flights on Australia's most popular route on March, the regional carrier today offered one-way economy fares for $49, or "less than a taxi fare" to the airport, with business class at $199.
Virgin Australia has now matched Rex's gambit dollar-for-dollar, with its own serve of Sydney-Melbourne economy fares at $49 and business class at $199.
Those fares apply across March and are on sale now until 11:59pm AEST on Sunday February 28, 2021.
Part of Virgin's blitz is an offer of double Velocity Points on all eligible bookings made by 17 February 2021.
"We've been inspired to look at new ways to push the envelope when it comes to stimulating the market and getting Australians back in the skies again," a spokesperson for the airline said.
Virgin has also moved to match Qantas by extending its free date-change booking flexibility for travel until 31 January 2022 for bookings made before 30 April 2021.
Jetstar has gone even lower, with selected Sydney-Melbourne flights throughout March now listing at $39.
Qantas has also slashed its own lead-in Sydney-Melbourne economy fares in March to $110 – they previously tended to start at $159. However, business class remains pegged at $716.
Rex entered the Sydney-Melbourne market in late 2020 with already-compelling fares of $79 for economy and $299 for business class, but as its March 1 launch date approaches and with domestic demand picking up as state borders reopen, this three-horse race is moving into a thundering gallop.