* Offering $30 one-way fares on most flights
* Virgin Australia has matched the cut-price fares
* Melbourne-Adelaide, Melbourne-Gold Coast routes stronger
SYDNEY, May 12 (Reuters) - Australian airline Regional
Express Holdings Ltd (Rex) is not doing as well as it
would like on the highly competitive Sydney-Melbourne route,
where it is offering A$39 ($30.38) fares on most flights, its
deputy chairman said on Wednesday.
The once regional airline in March expanded into big-city
routes to compete against Qantas Airways Ltd and Virgin
Australia taking advantage of cut-priced aircraft leases,
starting with one of the world's busiest domestic routes from
Sydney to Melbourne.
"The only route we want to do better on is
Sydney-Melbourne," Rex Deputy Chairman John Sharp said at a CAPA
Centre for Aviation event.
He did not deny claims by Qantas that Rex was flying as few
as 20 passengers per flight, but he said those tended to be
mid-week flights in the middle of the day.
"It is not unique, but it is not where we want it," Sharp
said of the vacant seats. "If you went any lower (priced) you'd
have to pay people to get on the plane."
Rex last week began selling A$39 one-way fares. As of
Wednesday morning, all four available Sydney-Melbourne flights
for the same day had A$39 seats on offer, its website showed, a
sign it had many last-minute seats to fill.
Virgin Australia matched with fares of its own from A$39 but
as of Wednesday morning, only three of 12 flights had that fare
available for later in the day, with the others priced at a
minimum of A$99 to A$299, its website showed.
Sharp said Rex's performance on other new routes such as
Melbourne-Adelaide and Melbourne-Gold Coast was stronger,
followed by Sydney-Gold Coast.
Rex said on Monday it hoped to boost its jet fleet from six
Boeing Co 737-800s to 10 by the end of the year. The
airline forecast it would report break-even financial results
for the 12 months ending June 30.
($1 = 1.2839 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Jamie Freed. Editing by Gerry Doyle)