Qantas and Virgin Blue are being forced into a full scale fare war with Tiger Airways at a very painful moment in domestic aviation in Australia.

The Singapore Airlines controlled low cost response to Jetstar opening a subsidiary in Singapore has announced more than doubling its Sydney-Melbourne flights to up to nine daily returns from 4 October.

It will also double the Adelaide-Sydney frequency to two flights daily from the same day.

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This is especially bad news for Qantas and its Jetstar subsidiary, and probably Lindsay Fox’s Avalon Airport.

Jetstar CEO Bruce Buchanan, recently discounted the option of switching flights from Avalon to Sydney to Melbourne’s main airport at Tullamarine because “it might cause problems for Qantas.”

Memo Bruce. Remove head from wherever it is. Avalon departures to Sydney in response to Tiger stealing your lunch are plain stupid.

Why on earth would anyone schlep all the way to Avalon if the competition is ripping you up from Tullamarine?

The strategic brilliance of Qantas under Geoff Dixon launching a Jetstar Asia subsidiary in Singapore is now becoming apparent. Tiger has gone for the major domestic prize, with more to come, and the truly silly notion that Jetstar has to avoid competing directly with the increasingly irrelevant current format of the Qantas Cityflyer high fare services on the route is obvious.

Dixon’s successor, Alan Joyce, who also launched Jetstar, knows the harsh reality and has seen the numbers, and has a plan.

It will be a plan that needs to be announced, and made to work, fairly soon, as the days of charging anything over $400 one way between Australia’s two largest cities are numbered.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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