ACCC authorises Regional Express to coordinate with other airlines

March 27, 2020 10:49 am

The ACCC has today granted interim authorisation to Regional Express (Rex) allowing it to
coordinate flight schedules with Virgin Australia and Qantas Airways on ten important regional
flight routes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The interim authorisation will also enable Rex, QantasLink and Virgin to share revenue from
providing services on the routes. Importantly, it is conditional on airlines charging fares no
higher than those in place on February 1, 2020, meaning the airlines will not be able to
coordinate to raise prices.

“We recognise this is an urgent request. This authorisation will help provide certainty for
regional flight operators to support services on these routes for those who need to use them,”
ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

“We hope that this temporary measure will also support airlines’ ability to again compete with
each other on these routes once the pandemic crisis has passed.”

“Airlines are facing significant challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including rapidly
escalating travel restrictions. The ACCC stands ready to urgently assist airlines with any
coordination arrangements that are necessary and appropriate during this crisis,” Mr Sims
said.

The coordination may involve arrangements such as each carrier on a route operating one
daily service, with revenue shared between carriers, or an operator suspending operation on a
route to allow another carrier to maintain a viable service.

The ACCC is able to review the interim authorisation at any time.

Having granted interim authorisation for the arrangements, the ACCC will seek feedback on
Rex’s application for authorisation. Details on how to make a submission will be available on
the ACCC’s authorisations public register. More information, including the ACCC’s statement of
reasons, is available at Regional Express Pty Ltd.

 

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