JETSTAR: Will take you from Brisbane to Canberra from September
Canberra will be added for the first time to the destination list of Jetstar initially out of Brisbane, 5 times a week from 2 September 2021, and you’ll be flying in an Airbus A320 200. Flight times will be midday out of Brisbane for the 1-hour 50-minute flights, returning at 14:30 from Canberra, arriving at 16:30 in Brisvegas. That schedule is not going to eat into the business market for the route as they would want to arrive more like 9 am, and get out by 4:30, or at least that’s my memory from when I used to pitch for work in Canberra.
Jetstar has until now stayed out of Canberra, presumably to stop the cannibalisation of the far higher fares Qantas charges to the lucrative government and business sector, with poor old Joe and Joanne public having to eat the consequentially engorged prices.
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Why CBR now?
Mature market? Increased demand? Probably not. It’s more likely to be a strategic move to discourage Virgin from increasing its presence and to stop Rex from even thinking about the route. It’s more like Qantas calling ‘dibs’ this is mine!
Qantas itself does not maintain a service every week. It looks like it only flies direct during parliamentary sitting weeks.
Rex does fly between Canberra and Sydney, and starts flying between Canberra and Melbourne from later this month – so a move to the BNE-CBR route is not out of the question for the David to the Qantas Goliath.
Lucas Baird over at the AFR suggests that the move is aimed at Virgin Australia:
‘But Jetstar’s new flights could well put the squeeze on Virgin Australia who now competes as a mid-market carrier and targets price-sensitive customers. As for Rex, if they are eyeing the BNE-CBR route, they may well decide four airlines on that route won’t fly financially.
Is Qantas playing a competitive game here? Is Qantas deploying its low-cost airline, risking a little marginal market cannibalization to keep Rex off a route?’
Effectively rebirthing an airline’s route plan and flight schedule post pandemic is a perfect time to make some bold moves – so maybe the CBR-BNE move by Qantas is just that.
|JQ656 BNE-CBR||1200||1350||Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday|
|JQ657 CBR-BNE||1430||1610||Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday|
Pricing is very similar but lower than Virgin Australia which ranges from about AU$170 to AU$300 per sector
Leisure flyers will benefit
If you have to pay your own airfare, this move by JetStar could be a boon. Currently, with only 54% of available used on the route, expect the budget airline to come up with some competitive pricing to challenge mid-market value flyer Virgin. Qantas can probably hold its price for the moment, doing a bit of a ‘swings and roundabouts’ with its budget cousin.
Just remember that as a budget flyer, you need to add in any extras on top of those fares – like legroom, baggage or booze