More seats weekly to Port Macquarie

Sydney, 11 February 2005

QantasLink will increase seat capacity between Sydney and Port Macquarie from today with five return services upgraded from 36 to 50 seater aircraft.

Qantas Executive General Manager Regional Airlines, Narendra Kumar, said the airline now provided more than 2700 seats each week to the New South Wales mid-coast city on the airline's fleet of Dash-8 aircraft.

"QantasLink operates 62 services each week to Port Macquarie and with the latest upgrade of aircraft type, 34 of these services will be operated by 50 seater Dash 8s.

Mr Kumar said the airline was continually consulting the business community within the Hasting district and sought feedback regarding QantasLink services.

"This upgrade in capacity is a direct result of the community's support of QantasLink services and highlights the importance of the airline's relationship with this community," he said.

Mr Kumar said the airline had retimed the afternoon service to leave Port Macquarie at 5.05pm arriving in Sydney at 6.15pm.

QantasLink recently announced the purchase of seven new new turboprop Bombardier Q400 72-seat aircraft and options and purchase rights over an additional 10 aircraft on regional routes to be delivered in the first half of 2006.

"This investment marks a new era in regional air travel, with the Bombardier Q400 featuring improved passenger comfort, jet-like speed and lower operating costs," Mr Kumar said.

"The Bombardier Q400 also delivers a 44 per cent increase in capacity over QantasLink's existing fleet of 50-seat Dash 8-Q300s.

"These new aircraft will allow QantasLink to grow capacity efficiently on key regional routes while maintaining frequency and will replace Dash 8-Q300s on certain routes and the displaced Dash 8-Q300s can replace smaller 36 seat Dash 8-100s and 200s."

Mr Kumar said this substantial investment in the regional fleet would continue Qantas' support for growth in regional Australia.

QantasLink offers more than 2,000 flights each week, serving 49 destinations throughout Australia and employing more than 1,000 people. The airline first operated services to Port Macquarie in 1989.

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (3212)