Qantas will purchase 12 additional Bombardier 72- seat Q400 aircraft for QantasLink. The airline will also take options and purchase rights for another 24 Q400s. The Chief Executive Officer of Qantas, Mr Geoff Dixon, said the aircraft, to be delivered from June 2008, would boost the QantasLink Q400 fleet to 21 aircraft.
Mr Dixon said this $400 million investment, following QantasLink’s $200 million investment in the first seven Q400s delivered in 2006, was a clear indication of the Qantas Group’s ongoing commitment to regional air services in Australia.
“These aircraft will be used to increase capacity and service frequency on key regional routes, as well as pursue new growth opportunities.
“The Q400, which offers jet-like speed, improved passenger comfort and lower operating costs is central to QantasLink’s growth strategy.
“It carries 72 passengers, can service most ports and is more environmentally friendly than alternative jet aircraft.”
Mr Dixon said the new aircraft would enable the retirement of all QantasLink 36-seat Dash 8-100 series aircraft by early 2010.
“Capacity growth for QantasLink over the period July 2008 to June 2010 will be around 19 per cent per annum.”
Mr Dixon said QantasLink and Bombardier planned to finalise contracts for the increased order by the end of this month.
QantasLink currently operates around 2,000 flights each week, serving 50 metropolitan and regional destinations throughout Australia with a fleet of 49 aircraft. The Q400 aircraft primarily operate services on QantasLink’s Queensland and ACT network at this stage.