Qantas (QF, Sydney Kingsford Smith) has rejected allegations levelled at it by competitor Rex - Regional Express (ZL, Wagga Wagga), in which the regional operator claimed that the flag carrier had acted in an uncompetitive manner on selected domestic routes.

"Rex has a track record for throwing tantrums when things aren’t going according to their plan," said a Qantas spokesperson. "Not long ago, they blamed us for the fact their pilots were applying for jobs with Qantas. Now it’s because we’ve added services and given regional consumers more choice."

Last week, Rex complained to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) about Qantas' alleged dumping of excess capacity on the following routes: Sydney Kingsford Smith to Ballina most recently, and in the past on routes from Adelaide to Whyalla and Kingscote, the latter airport serves Kangaroo Island.

With regards to the Ballina route, Qantas said in a statement: "The claim that our new service is responsible for Rex’s underperformance on this already highly competitive route is nonsensical. Ballina-Sydney is currently served by three airlines - Rex, Jetstar Airways, and Virgin Australia - with around 520,000 seats each year. Qantas’ new service will add another 36,000 each year, or an additional 7% capacity."

With regards to the Adelaide-Kangaroo Island route, in January, Qantas committed to maintaining flights on the sector until at least the end of March 2021, as the island recovers from the recent devastating bushfires. "Rex blaming our capacity commitments as a reason for exiting Kangaroo Island after the bushfires is a sad state of affairs," added the Qantas spokesperson.

On February 7, Qantas announced that it will more than double its flights on the route, following Rex's decision to exit the market. From July, Qantas will operate 12x weekly services throughout the year, an increase from the existing 5x weekly peak season rotations, and 3x weekly during off-peak.

The airline made no comment on its capacity activity on the Adelaide-Whyalla route, on which Rex claims that Qantas "dumped" 66,000 annual seats into the market in April 2015.

Qantas said that over the past two years, it has launched numerous new regional Australia routes, on many of which it is the sole operating carrier, including:

"We’re focused on adding new routes to regions that we think have genuine growth potential. That includes stimulating those towns with more capacity, which helps build momentum and can grow the size of the pie over time," concluded the Qantas spokesperson.

Editorial Comment: Updated on February 7 to include Qantas announcement on Adelaide to Kingscote (Kangaroo Island). - 07.02.2020 - 08:49 UTC