Qantas Boosts Regional Fleet with Six New Dash 8s

SYDNEY, 18 December 2003

QantasLink today announced it had ordered six turboprop Dash 8 aircraft for delivery in the first half of 2004, an investment of more than $A100 million.

Executive General Manager Regional Airlines, Narendra Kumar, said the new 50-seater Q300 Dash 8s would replace older model 36-seat Dash 8 aircraft currently operated by QantasLink for its services to regional Australia.

He said Qantas had also taken options on two additional Dash 8 Q300s.

"This is the largest-ever single investment Qantas has made in the regional turboprop fleet," Mr Kumar said.

"We are committed to continuing our investment in QantasLink to ensure we have the best aircraft to meet the needs of regional Australia.

"The new aircraft will operate in New South Wales, the ACT, Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania. They will enable us to make more seats available at peak times on key routes - for example between Sydney and Canberra, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie and Albury, on Melbourne-Canberra and Melbourne-Devonport services, and between Cairns and Townsville, and Cairns-Hamilton Island.

"The Dash 8 is a key part of the Qantas regional fleet, offering our customers improved reliability and comfort, including a quieter cabin, with an additional flight attendant on board the 50-seater aircraft enhancing the inflight service," he said.

Mr Kumar said QantasLink offered more than 2,500 flights each week, serving 54 destinations throughout Australia and employing more than 1,600 people.

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (3006)