Competition for airline passengers among one of the capital's busiest routes has increased, with the first Rex Airlines flight from Sydney to Canberra touching down in the ACT.
The arrival of the Rex flight on Monday morning signalled the start of a second airline servicing the popular route, which had been previously been monopolised by Qantas since the start of the pandemic.
It comes as the airline's deputy chair John Sharp said further destinations such as Melbourne could be serviced by Rex from Canberra in the near future.
The new Rex flights from Sydney to Canberra will operate seven return services per weekday, along with services on the weekend, from between $99 to $299.
Rex deputy chair John Sharp, who has accused Qantas of price gouging along the route, said prices were set to be more competitive along the route.
"This is a very historic day and part of the expansion from a regional airline to a domestic carrier and the first service to Canberra," he said.
"Flying from Sydney to Canberra is shorter than regional flights, and we can keep doing this as long as people want to consume the product."
The first passengers to arrive in Canberra on the Rex flight just before 8am on Monday were greeted on arrival and presented with Canberra-themed gift bags.
Mr Sharp said discussions in setting up flights arriving in Canberra took just three weeks after the route was announced by Rex.
"This has all happened in rapid time," he said.
"This will be a great boost to business and tourism and those who want to visit friends and family."
The arrival of Rex coincided with Canberra Airport last week getting back to 50 per cent of its flight levels pre-pandemic.
The airport's head of aviation Michael Thomson said passenger numbers had been slowly growing in recent weeks.
"We've seen a growth of 1 to 2 per cent each week, and with the arrival of new flights into Canberra, and hopefully full flights, it will hopefully boost those numbers," he said.
"[The airport] is more connected than it has been previously, with 12 destinations to now fly from."
The arrival of Rex into the Sydney to Canberra market is excepted to add 160,000 seats along the route.
It comes as recent analysis conducted by Urbis, commissioned by Rex Airlines, found the new daily route would add $191 million to the Canberra economy and support up to 300 new jobs.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the arrival of Rex into Canberra was a significant boost to Canberra's tourism sector, which was recovering from the impact of COVID and travel restrictions.
"It's encouraging to see the level of domestic travel, and now is the perfect time for Rex to come into the market," he said.
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