QantasLink to Resume Q400 Services to Horn Island and add Frequency to Weipa

Sydney, 16 December 2010

QantasLink announced today it would resume regular scheduled 74-seat Bombardier Q400 services between Cairns and Horn Island and also add frequency and capacity between Cairns and Weipa from 1 February 2011.

QantasLink Executive Manager, Mr Narendra Kumar, said the reintroduction of the larger Q400 aircraft to Horn Island would follow the long awaited upgrade of the local airport.

"QantasLink has been operating to Horn Island since 1992, and this increase in services and capacity is honouring our commitment to the Far North Queensland regulated routes and the growth of these regions," Mr Kumar said.

"Based on demand and airport infrastructure, our premium Q400 regional aircraft are an integral part of our offering. They were launched on our Cairns-Horn Island services in February 2008 but, regrettably, the need to upgrade Horn Island Airport's runway meant Q400 flying on the route had to be suspended from December 2008.

"This year, and as the runway works neared completion, we have progressively introduced Q400 services as the airport's infrastructure allowed, building to 26 scheduled services in December and a planned 42 services in January 2011, alongside our regular Q300 services.

"The Torres Shire Council is to be congratulated for completing the runway upgrade on schedule and allowing QantasLink to resume a regular Q400 schedule and provide the community and local business with certainty."

The Horn Island schedule highlights:
- From 1 February 2011, QantasLink will operate 14 return services each week between Cairns and Horn Island, an increase of one return service per week
- Ten of these services will be operated by 74-seat Q400 aircraft, with the remainder operated by 50-seat Q300 aircraft
- Larger aircraft and additional frequency will provide a 61 per cent increase in capacity, or an additional 694 seats per week
- Double daily Q400 flights will operate on Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays to better meet peak period demand
- Q400 flying time will be 20 per cent faster, at 1 hour 35 minutes
- Connections to key destinations to and from Cairns, including Brisbane, Sydney and other Queensland regional centres, as well as outer island destinations to and from Horn Island

Mr Kumar said QantasLink had operated services between Cairns and Weipa since 2001 and, from 1 February, would increase return service frequency from 10 to 12 per week.

"Based on our assessment of demand, and allocating the right aircraft to the right routes, capacity to and from Weipa will be increased by 4 per cent."

Weipa schedule highlights:
- Addition of a third daily return service, operated by Q300 aircraft, on the peak demand days of Monday and Friday
- Daily Q400 services continue on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
- Double daily services remain on Sundays
- Connections to key Queensland and interstate destinations to and from Cairns

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 (5056a)