Update: Rex announced last night, 11 June, it had been forced to further delay the launch flights between Melbourne and Canberra until Thursday 24 June.
Originally set to take off this week on Thursday 10 June, the new Rex Boeing 737-800NG jet service between the two capital cities had been re-scheduled to begin on 18 June due to the Melbourne lockdown.
However, the extended Victorian lockdown and on-going uncertainty around Government border closures and travel restrictions make it prudent to push back the date of the inaugural flight by a week.
The 24 June launch will coincide with school holidays in Victoria, NSW and the ACT which begin the following day.
On 4 June, Rex announced a short delay with the commencement of servicing the Melbourne to Canberra route due to the extended lockdown in the Victorian capital.
Passengers who booked directly with Rex will be informed via email of an automatic refund of the ticket. Passengers booked through a travel agent will need to request the latter to request a refund which will be credited with the travel agent. Rex reminded affected passengers they were protected by the airline’s industry-leading COVID Refund Guarantee which ensures anyone impacted by COVID-related cancellations, rescheduling or related border closures and travel restrictions can easily access a full refund.
18 May 2021: $69 airfares between Canberra and Melbourne will be taking off soon with Rex’s announcement today it will begin operating a twice-daily return service on a Boeing 737-800NG jet from 10 June.The $69 one-way economy fares are $123 cheaper than the lowest airfare on the route available in May, according to official Federal Government statistics*.
The new Melbourne-Canberra service will bring 200,000 annual seats to the route and represents the latest addition to Rex’s rapidly expanding domestic network.
It follows last month’s launch of the Sydney-Canberra route where Rex operates seven return flights each weekday.
According to Rex, more than a million people travel between the two capital cities each year pre-COVID and return flights on Qantas can cost more than $900. Indeed, a return Qantas flight this Queen’s Birthday long weekend costs as much as $928.28.
Rex Deputy Chairman, the Hon John Sharp AM, said: “We are sure that both Qantas and Virgin Australia will immediately match our fares as they have done every time”.
“We estimate that Rex’s entry will save Canberrans over $150 million a year in lower fares once travel returns to pre-COVID levels. This is on top of an equivalent amount for the Sydney-Canberra route,” Mr Sharp said.
“The savings will make a big difference to many families during this trying period and will be funnelled into the local economy and create more jobs. The cheap fares will add a further boost to the tourism and hospitality industries in the ACT and make it really affordable for Canberrans to visit friends and family and attend sporting events in Melbourne.”
The $69 fare includes free checked baggage and on-board refreshments as Rex is a full-service airline and offers three classes of seating – business, ‘Rextra’ legroom and economy.
Rex is the only airline in Australia that offers a COVID Refund policy for new bookings, which guarantees full refunds for any passenger affected by COVID-related cancellations, rescheduling, border closures and travel restrictions.
“The ACT Government warmly welcomes Rex Airlines investment in the Canberra-Melbourne route,” ACT Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, said.
“This is a major boost to competition on one of the city’s busiest aviation routes. It will make it easier, and significantly cheaper, for people to visit Canberra.
“It is a further vote of confidence in Canberra’s tourism and hospitality industry and today’s announcement will be welcomed by both leisure and business travellers,” Mr Barr said.
Canberra Airport CEO, Stephen Byron, said: “This announcement cements Rex’s commitment to Canberra and the region, now servicing our two biggest markets – Sydney and Melbourne, and provides choice and a tremendous opportunity for the people of Canberra and Melbourne.”
*Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics