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Qantas hits back at Rex as Sydney-Orange feud continues

written by Hannah Dowling | July 8, 2020

Qantas has accused Rex of harbouring a double standard, after the regional airline picked a fight over the flag carrier’s new return service between Sydney and Orange. 

“Rex is clearly uncomfortable about facing competition and seeing their monopoly on flights to Orange coming to end,” a Qantas spokesperson told Australian Aviation on Wednesday afternoon.

The new comments come after Qantas decided to take on Rex for the popular service, which Rex then branded a “predatory” decision and “anti-competitive”  behaviour.

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Last week, Qantas announced that as of 20 July 2020, it would be launching return services between the NSW capital and the regional hub of Orange, a route that had previously been dominated by Rex. 

The new route will be serviced by QantasLink, with three return services per week.

Rex responded by arguing that Qantas was utilising its multimillion-dollar government bailout to intentionally “weaken its competitor at this time of national crisis”.

Qantas has now hit back to the fiery claims, stating that Rex is trying to hedge an each-way bet against the Flying Kangaroo.

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“Rex sees their plans to expand into domestic routes as good for competition, but when a route they have had a monopoly on for decades faces some competition they say it’s predatory behaviour.”

This refers to the announcement made by Rex in May this year, that it would be investing in larger aircraft and intending to tackle capital city domestic routes.

Further, the regional airline announced its decision to take on Qantas and Virgin on capital city routes just weeks after it had begged the government for urgent financial aid, which was shortly delivered.

Many have pointed out the irony in Rex challenging Virgin and Qantas on domestic routes amid a period of deep uncertainty over the future of Virgin Australia, throughout April and May, which could also be considered ‘predatory’.

However, others have agreed that Qantas shouldn’t be taking on smaller, less profitable routes that other airlines are already servicing to a necessary extent.

According to Qantas: “We have a long history of serving regional Australia and we’ll continue to invest in communities where there’s sustainable demand for our services.

“The local community in Orange has been extremely supportive of QantasLink bringing competition to the route, which will create more competitive airfares and stimulate more demand for people to visit the region.”

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9 Comments

  • Philip Chang

    says:

    Why is Rex afraid of competition?

  • john

    says:

    REX regional airline announced its decision to take on Qantas and Virgin on capital city routes just weeks after it had begged the L.N.P /NAT government for urgent financial aid, which was shortly delivered.

  • Nicholas

    says:

    No sympathy for REX. They have been the architects of their own misfortune. Seriously what did they expect when they stated they were going to enter Qantas territory…

  • Lance

    says:

    Nothing has changed when all those years ago Qantas & Ansett were flying and killed off Compass Airlines from getting off the ground then when Ansett collapsed Qantas was going to have its own way then comes along Virgin that almost went under agaain Qantas was going to rule the skies until Virgin got a lifeline so Qantas wants total control but it won’t happen because ACCC won’t allow it to happen.
    The more competition the better one thing I have notice Qantas will buy out the airline no competition and there is fact & proof of that in WA.

  • Hein

    says:

    REX knows a thing or two about predatory behaviour. First they blackmail local Councils out of outstanding airport charges, next they hold out their supplicating, greedy overseas hands and get even more govt subsidies – on top of those they are already getting, unneccessarily, in WA and QLD – and now it’s too hot in the kitchen. Well I suggest you get out, Rexy, we can do without your parasitic behaviour. Goodbye!!

  • Ben

    says:

    Competition is good and on routes like the golden triangle where millions (nearly 19 million in 2018/19) of passengers travel each year, we the traveling public are the benefactors of such competition. In fact, the Syd-Mel route is the third busiest on earth. Syd-Bne is 18th and Bne-Mel is the 34rd busiest. Clearly, these passenger dense routes should be able to sustain 3 airlines. Conversely, the Syd-Orange route is very thin and barely supports one airline with around 65k passengers annually. Qantas’ argument that there’s a ‘double standard’ is misguided. There is a very big difference between a financially strong, large airline with billions of dollars in cash on their books, deciding to enter a marginal route that they’re unlikely to make any money on, versus a much smaller competitor entering a domestic market with millions of passengers in which everyone can make money. Qantas’ claims that the community will benefit are specious too. They aren’t doing it for anyone but their own benefit with the end game being that REX is financially damaged. They did the same thing on the Kingscote route, and REX was forced out. I’m not a REX fan, quite the contrary, but Qantas’ actions certainly do have the flavour of predatory behavior, which in this country is illegal. I guess time will tell.

  • Peter

    says:

    QantasLink announced Sydney Orange long before coronavirus was a thing. They also announced a return to Ballina but Rex haven’t said anything about that route.

  • Alan Pace

    says:

    My mind harks back to AUSTRALIAN AIRLINES (once TAA, Trans Australia Airlines) which was actually owned by ALL Australians having been set up by a Labor Government Post WW2. TAA WAS AUSTRALIA’S ONLY FLAG CARRIER UNTIL AXED in the nineties. Sadly ‘killed off’ by the Liberal Country Party Coalition lest it taint the privates, especially QANTAS that was seemingly beyond criticism (although during Melbourne’s PRE Tullamarine era, NOT ONE QF AIRCRAFT EVER EVER EVER LANDED AT MELBOURNE’s then PRIMARY AIRPORT, ESSENDON [even though most could on operational Balanced Field Stats & actual weather/runway lengths, widths etc.].

  • Peter

    says:

    Love QF also Rex that supply a lifeline to regional ports .
    Why people so negative about a great regional carrier. If it wasn’t for Rex people would lose out. Profitable routes are not the be all . Wish Rex could operate the Tiger routes, who were useless, unreliable and always had probs. Here is one happy to see TT go, for good I hope.

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