In the airfare battle among Qantas Airways, Virgin Australia and Rex Airlines, customers might be the ultimate winners.
On February 10, 2021, in the celebration of domestic jet services launch between Sydney and Melbourne, Rex Airlines announced it was offering flights for “cheaper than a taxi fare to the airport.” If booked by the end of February 2021, a business class fare is $199 and economy fares start at $49.
“Most taxi rides to the airport cost more than $49. This is a wonderful opportunity for travelers to get between Australia’s two biggest cities on a whim to get over the COVID blues,” said Rex Deputy Chairman John Sharp.
The same day, Virgin Australia also dropped its fares to $49 for the Sydney-Melbourne route. In a so-called sales blitz, the airline announced it was extending booking flexibility for travel until January 31, 2022, and offered double Velocity Points on all eligible bookings made by February 17, 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,” said a spokesperson from Virgin Australia.
Earlier in February 2021, Qantas had dropped prices on Sydney-Melbourne route to $110 for the economy fares, instead of the previous $159. The airline also introduced a “Fly Flexible” policy that permits travelers to have unlimited flight changes until January 2022.
“By giving customers unlimited flight date changes for almost a year, we think it will encourage more people to book, helping to boost tourism which is so vital to local economies and businesses around the country,” said Qantas Group Chief Customer Officer Stephanie Tully.
Already in May 2020, Rex announced plans to leap into operating domestic flights to major Australian cities. In August 2020, up to 10 Virgin Australia’s Boeing 737s were purchased by Rex for operating Sydney-Melbourne-Brisbane triangle. Rex will start flying the Sydney-Melbourne route from March 1, 2021.