Virgin Australia will introduce twice-weekly services between Perth and Canberra in parliamentary sitting weeks from August.
Virgin is offering one-way direct economy fares online starting at $359 compared with $388 for Qantas.
Travel time from Canberra will be the same as Qantas at four hours and 40 minutes flying Boeing 737-800 aircraft with 176 seats.
In August and September sitting weeks, Virgin flights will depart Perth on Thursday and Sunday at 12.35pm and arrive in Canberra at 6.25pm.
They will depart Canberra at 7pm and arrive in Perth at 9.40pm.
Tickets for 2017 are on sale now and 2018 flights will be available after the parliamentary sitting calendar is released.
Virgin also offers direct flights from Canberra to Adelaide, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Melbourne and Sydney.
It’s understood that Virgin will monitor passenger numbers and consider additional services based on demand.
A spokesman for Canberra Airport welcomed Virgin’s new services.
“They offer even greater choices for travellers from Canberra and the wider south-east region, and the opportunity to easily access international routes, including to Africa,” the spokesman said.
West Australian politicians and their staff who will be targeted for the new flights include ministers Julie Bishop, Mathias Cormann, Christian Porter, Michael Keenan and Ken Wyatt, Labor’s Tim Hammond and Greens deputy leader Scott Ludlum.
Passenger data for the Canberra-Perth route is not publicly available.
The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development publishes aviation statistics for individual routes with two or more airlines operating and an average of more than 8000 passengers per month.
In February 2017, Canberra featured in four of the 66 busiest competitive routes with flights to Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide.