The Qantas Group’s regional subsidiary QantasLink will increase its Queensland capacity by 18 per cent as its new Bombardier Q400 aircraft come into service over the coming months.Qantas Executive General Manager Regional Airlines Narendra Kumar said the first of the new aircraft arrived in Brisbane this week, in preparation for entry into service on 26 February.
“We are dedicating five of QantasLink’s total order of seven new Q400s to Queensland,” Mr Kumar said.
He said the new 72-seat Bombardier Q400, which was both larger and faster than the airline’s current Dash 8 fleet, would enable QantasLink to provide more than 240,000 additional seats each year into 12 Queensland ports.
“Flying the Bombardier Q400 on some of the services on these routes also gives us the flexibility to redirect other capacity. For example, we will be able to operate 50-seat Dash 8-Q300 aircraft alongside our 36-seat Dash 8 aircraft on services to Bundaberg, Longreach, Roma and Charleville, to provide more seats,” Mr Kumar said.
“In addition to boosting capacity by upgrading aircraft, QantasLink will also add an extra flight to Weipa and Roma,” he said.
Mr Kumar said QantasLink had already announced new double-daily Q400 return services between Brisbane and Mackay, which would commence from April 2006.
“Tourism and business sectors across Queensland will benefit from the additional capacity and the introduction of the Bombardier Q400 on key routes at peak demand times.”
Mr Kumar said QantasLink would also operate a daily direct Q400 service between Brisbane and Canberra from April 2006, adding more than 1,000 extra seats on the route each week for the Qantas Group.
“The QantasLink flight will depart Canberra at 3.45 pm which is timed to connect with flights to Queensland ports beyond Brisbane.
“QantasLink is the first airline in the Southern Hemisphere to offer customers this new aircraft type,” Mr Kumar said.
“We have made a significant investment in the Bombardier Q400 aircraft, with seven scheduled for delivery by July 2006 and purchase rights and options over an additional 10 aircraft.”
Mr Kumar said the Bombardier Q400 featured jet-like speed with new engine and propeller systems.
“Flying at 360 knots, this aircraft reduces flight times compared to our current services, giving us the potential to operate additional frequencies on some sectors,” he said.
“This $200 million investment in new aircraft is a reflection of the Qantas Group’s commitment to regional Australia.