QantasLink Expands Q400 Operations to Blackall and Barcaldine

Brisbane, 06 December 2010

QantasLink announced today it would launch its flagship Bombardier Q400 regional aircraft on its Blackall and Barcaldine routes from early February 2011.

QantasLink Executive Manager, Mr Narendra Kumar, said the introduction of the Q400 service would increase frequency from two services per week to three per week. The additional flights would also reduce flying times to and from Brisbane to less than two hours on these services.

"This is a significant increase in flight frequency and capacity for these important Western Queensland centres," Mr Kumar said.

"Our new schedule will offer more choice and greater convenience - for travel to and from Brisbane and connections to the broader Qantas Group domestic and international networks."

QantasLink currently operates two flights per week to each town. The airline will add the extra service each week to Blackall from 9 February and to Barcaldine from 12 February.

The Blackall schedule will cover flights on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with the new Q400 services to operate every Wednesday. The Barcaldine schedule will cover flights on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, with the new Q400 service operating every Saturday.

The move will follow the completion of upgrades to the airports at both Barcaldine and Blackall.

Mr Kumar said the Blackall and Barcaldine airport upgrades were a collaborative funding effort by the Queensland Government in partnership with Blackall-Tambo and Barcaldine Regional Councils.

"QantasLink has been flying to these communities for just over nine years, and in Qantas' 90th year, this increase in services and capacity is a firm indication of our commitment to the Western Queensland regulated routes and the growth of these regions," he said.

"I would like to thank both the Blackall-Tambo and Barcaldine Regional Councils for ensuring the recent airport upgrades were completed in time for the airline's Q400 expansion plans. Modern airport infrastructure is so important to the ongoing viability of regional air services."

As the country's largest regional airline, QantasLink is embedded in regional Australia. With a network of 53 metropolitan and country destinations across all states and territories, the airline also launched its 54th, and first international, destination - Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea - in July this year.

QantasLink has invested over $600 million in 21 new Q400 aircraft since 2006. A further investment of $250 million has also been made in a further seven Q400s for delivery from February 2011. These aircraft operate alongside the airline's fleet of five Q200, 16 Q300 and 11 B717 aircraft.

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (5053)