Aussie Air Wars: Rex Airlines Takes Another Swipe at Rival Qantas

Mickydee2066, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – May’s performance statistics on Australian domestic routes have just been released, and Rex Airlines have used the opportunity to slam rival Qantas’ relatively poor performance, in what is yet another blatant swipe at its competitor.

Today’s press release from Rex Airlines saw the carrier proclaiming itself “Australia’s Most Reliable Airline” after the release of May’s report from Australia’s Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (BITRE).

The figures show the carrier leading Qantas in domestic on-time departure performance and the least number of flight cancellations.

The following domestic airlines currently report this information monthly to BITRE:

Jetstar, Qantas, QantasLink, Regional Express, Tigerair Australia, Virgin Australia and Virgin Australia Regional Airlines.

Domestic on-time performance

A flight arrival is counted as ‘on time’ if it arrives within 15 minutes of the scheduled arrival time for the flight.

Similarly, a flight departure is counted as ‘on time’ if it departs the gate within 15 minutes after the scheduled departure time shown in the carriers’ schedule.

Overall, 78.5% of all Rex flights (domestic and regional) departed on time. For Qantas (including QantasLink) on-time departures were 61.5%.

Rex took the opportunity to take a backhanded swipe at its rival, saying that the “miserable 61.5%” was “even much worse than Tiger’s before it was shut down.”

“The BITRE data proves once again that Rex is Australia’s most reliable airline by a country mile,” Rex Deputy Chairman, the Hon John Sharp AM, said.

Mr Sharp then took at dig at his rival’s recent publicised issues with lack of baggage handling facilities, saying, “Rex treats its customers with respect and decency; we don’t cancel flights en mass and we don’t lose truckloads of our passenger’s luggage.”

Flight cancellations

A flight is regarded as a ‘cancellation’ if it is cancelled or rescheduled less than 7 days prior to its scheduled departure time.

Rex were quick to point out that, according to May’s stats, Qantas was the worst performing airline with 7.6% percent flight cancellations for the month.

Rex had the lowest cancellation rate at 1.4% cancelled for the month.

Overall statistics from BITRE

For balance, the overall performance figures across all airlines should be considered. BITRE state:

For May 2022, on time performance over all routes operated by participating airlines (Jetstar, Qantas, QantasLink, Rex Airlines, Virgin Australia and Virgin Australia Regional Airlines) averaged 64.2 per cent for on time arrivals and also for on time departures.

The cancellation rate for the month was 5.6 per cent. This month’s figures were impacted by weather related events, congestion (Sectors Flown approaching levels recorded prior to COVID-19) and other COVID-19 related issues.

Equivalent figures for May 2021 were 83.8 per cent for on time arrivals, 83.7 per cent for on time departures and 4.7 per cent for cancellations.

The Rex vs Qantas air battle

Rex have continued to maintain an aggressive stance with Qantas, having twice accused the rival carrier of “predatory behaviour” in vying for regional flight routes.

The dropping of 6 low performing regional flight routes by Rex in the past couple of months has perhaps demonstrated how volatile the market is in the post-pandemic recovery stage, as airlines pick up the pieces and attempt to return to post-COVID performance.

Rightly or wrongly, Rex have blamed what they claim to be predatory behaviour by Qantas as being at least part of their decisions to cut some services.

At the same time, Rex have commenced flight operations with their SAAB 340 fleet on the Melbourne-Devonport route, which was previously solely operated by Qantaslink with its Bombardier Dash-8 aircraft.

Commenting on their entry into the route, Mr Sharp claimed that Rex “have been courted by the local community for over 2 years because of the price gouging by Qantas, the sole carrier on the route, and because of the very poor service levels.”

Qantas have chosen not to engage in a war of words. Move over Mad Max, the Aussie air war rages on.

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