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Qantas accuses Rex of spreading ‘weird conspiracy theories’

written by Hannah Dowling | May 30, 2022

QANTAS Dash-8s VH-TQZ and TQD wait patiently, Sydney 12.2.21 Justin McCoy
A Rex Saab 340 alongside two Qantas Dash 8s (@justinmccoyaviationphotography)

Qantas has clapped back at rival Rex and said complaints that it’s being forced out of routes by the flag carrier are nothing more than a “weird conspiracy theory”.

In a withering riposte, the larger business on Monday released a strongly worded statement systematically debunking what it calls “false claims” made by Rex and attacking the smaller airline for blaming its problems on Qantas.

It marks the latest barb in the long-running row between the two airlines, which began after the larger company launched services on previously Rex-exclusive regional routes. On Monday, Rex said it would pull out of five more regional cities and blamed the move on Qantas. 

In response, Qantas has launched a new offensive to “respond” to Rex’s numerous claims, with a new web page dedicated to the rebuttal effort.

“Rex’s claims against Qantas have become so far-fetched, we had to create a dedicated page on our website to rebut them and update it on a fairly regularly basis as they cook up more weird conspiracy theories,” a Qantas spokesperson told Australian Aviation.

On the new web page, and speaking of its rival’s most recent decision to withdraw from routes to Bathurst, Grafton, Lismore, Kangaroo Island and Ballina, Qantas retorted: “Rex blamed Qantas, despite the fact that Qantas operates on only two of these routes (Kangaroo Island and Ballina) and Rex is the sole operator on the other three routes.

“This is just the latest example of Rex blaming Qantas and others for decisions that by its own admission it has made ‘to look after itself’.”

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“The reality is that Qantas services have been welcomed by regional communities as providing competition and flexibility,” Qantas said.

“Since Qantas started flying Sydney-Broken Hill and Sydney-Orange, both Qantas and Rex have increased flights to meet growing demand.”

Qantas also pointed to the fact that the ACCC has said it will take “no further action” in an earlier investigation into Qantas’ alleged anti-competitive behaviour after Rex made a formal complaint.

“The Qantas Group has launched more than 50 new domestic and regional routes over the past two years, only 10 of which have been operated by Rex,” Qantas said.

The airline said it will continue to update the webpage “to correct further false claims from Rex”.

In March, the ACCC reported that the Qantas Group boasted a 62 per cent share of the domestic passenger market, while Rex held 4 per cent.

Earlier this month, Rex announced its departure from both Sydney-Canberra and Melbourne-Albury, and reignited a longstanding battle against rival Qantas over both airline’s network expansion into each other’s territory.

The fiery war-of-words has seen Qantas CEO Alan Joyce mock Rex’s “empty aircraft” while Rex deputy chairman John Sharp called Qantas’ moves “predatory”, and questioned how Joyce can “look at himself in the mirror some mornings”. Qantas has consistently denied any wrongdoing.

The tit-for-tat battle ramped up after Rex announced plans for its own grand entrance into capital city routes in 2020 on a fleet of second-hand Boeing 737s. The previously regional carrier took off on its first Melbourne-Sydney flight on 1 March 2021.

Then, in February 2021, Qantas took on eight separate routes that were previously exclusive to Rex: Sydney-Orange, Sydney-Merimbula, Sydney-Griffith, Melbourne-Merimbula, Melbourne-Albury, Melbourne-Wagga Wagga, Melbourne-Mount Gambier, and Adelaide-Mount Gambier.

Comments (13)

  • Geoffrey

    says:

    I don’t get this. Both airlines are to blame and no one wins, especially customers. Just because REX has a monopoly doesn’t mean QF should enter. If the route is so thin as to only support one carrier and prices are reasonable, why enter it. It’s only going to cause grief for everyone in the long run. I’ve flow QF regionally heaps and their service is always subject to cancellations. REX was profitable many years running, prior to entering the Jet age. Why not return to what you did well and service the regions. You own the fleet, there must be profitable routes out there.

    • Warwick

      says:

      Rex still has 4 Saabs leased.

      Its’ Boeing 738’s are all leased, too.

      There’s over $500k which has to be found each & every month, before fuel, wages, engineering costs are added.

      No wonder it can’t continue certain routes with stopped Fed Govt funds incoming.

  • marcus

    says:

    Rex route cutting.
    Qantas left to maintain route customers satisfaction.
    Bonza ahead.
    Interesting times.

  • Stuart Spouse

    says:

    Wow
    Qantas have resources to create a dedicated web page !!

    But not enough to answer customer enquiries either by letter (respond to registered letter 2 months after delivery) or telephone (staff unable to change a booking !! Yes really

    Stuart
    Applecross

    • Ashley

      says:

      Maybe the rulings attached to your bought airfare prevented it from being able to be changed.

      QANTAS Call Centre staff are well aware of fare rules, & will act accordingly.

      Always reading the rules when you book online, is a very good idea, to save embarrassment in the future.

    • Darrell Sard

      says:

      Cant agree with you. I called QF 5 times yesterday with all calls answered within 10 minutes. I also received a reply to my email query within 48 hours.

  • Vannus

    says:

    Sharp’s not got the intestinal fortitude to place the blame for underperforming Rex routes exactly where it belongs.
    It starts from the top.

    He’s pulling out of those routes because RANS Fed Govt $ is stopping soon.
    He neglects to advise the millions’ $ Rex has received over the past couple of years’, but has the audacity to ‘have a go’ at QANTAS’ amount.

    He’ll blame everyone, except himself, for Rex’s woes.
    One day, karma might just bite him where it hurts, for his continuous atrocious outbursts, against QANTAS CEO Mr Alan Joyce, & his National Carrier.

  • AlanH

    says:

    Well, John Sharp used to head up the Nationals in Parliament. Enough said!

  • Mark

    says:

    Seems of Australia’s large airlines only Virgin Australia is run by adults , Qantas & Rex management prefer to behave like preschool children .

  • Stephen

    says:

    I would not fly QANTAS if you paid me, their prices are nearly always double the opposition. Hell!, the so called “Flag” Carrier does not even look after it’s own military veterans, and a CEO on two million a year plus bonuses. But then again the fact is no airline in Australia looks after Veterans. Come on QANTAS….”The Australia Airline”. Look up APOD and offer veterans a price discount, and while I am here I was looking at flying Brisbane to Orange to see family, but I would have to fly to Sydney first and spend anything up to twelve hours in lay over before a flight to Orange and the same back again with QANTAS at around $500.00pp and if I recall that was on way.

    • Ashley

      says:

      Didn’t know QANTAS ‘owned’ military veterans’.

      Why should they be given a ‘discount’, as opposed to everybody else who works at a job, in a company, or business.
      People choose to be in the Military, so they accept that job, & get well paid paid for it.

      QANTAS is a business, & as such, it wouldn’t be financially viable if they gave ‘discounts’ to all, & sundry.
      What has the CEO’s salary to do with your argument? Do you expect Mr Alan Joyce to pay for ‘veterans’ airfares’?

      I’m sure there’re other means of transport to Orange for you, if an air fare is too ‘expensive’……hell! You could drive!

  • Mattsey

    says:

    Ok well I personally think REX are using Qantas as a scapegoat, especially considering 3 of the routes that REX are withdrawing from Qantaslink dont even fly there such as Sydney to Bathurst, Sydney to Grafton and Sydney to Lismore.
    REXs decision to pull out was to do with the Government Grants they were receiving coming to an end.

    I can understand however to a certain degree, because I remember in 2006 when Qantaslink were withdrawing from regional routes such as Melbourne to Burnie, and then all of a sudden when REX decided to enter the Golden Triangle Market Qantas decides to expand on their regional routes and started to Melbourne to Burnie route again along with other regional routes and wondered Qantas’s motives. With that said, if I had to choose between REX and Qantaslink I would choose Qantaslink as the SAAB 340s are ageing and REX have no desire to modernise their fleet.
    The other reason too is if I needed to connect beyond Sydney or Melbourne, its more seamless and I only need to use 1 booking system. Although I welcome REX going into the Domestic Market as that will address those issues.

    • Lindsay

      says:

      Yes, Mattsey, one wonders how much life is left in the very old Saabs’ Rex is flying.

      After the loss of propeller in 2018, there would would be many folk who wouldn’t board one for love nor money.

      Rex’s owners’, who are Singaporean billionaires’, seem very shy to put money into their airline in any way at all.
      Their game plan seems to be to just let all go on as before until whatever happens, it seems.

      Sharp can bully & bluster all he likes, but the base-line is his airline is a loss making enterprise, as evidenced by the last two years’ worth of tens of millions’ in the red balance sheets, despite it receiving multi-millions’ $ from Fed Govt RANS & DANS handouts.
      The FY21-22 will probably be the same result.

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