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QantasLink Awarded Air Service Contracts for Regional Queensland Services

Brisbane, 28 January 2008

QantasLink today announced that it had been awarded new Air Service Contracts by the Queensland Government. These contracts will allow QantasLink to continue to serve Western and Far North Queensland communities for a further five years.

Qantas Group General Manager Regional Airlines Mr Narendra Kumar said the contracts, which were being renewed for the third time, covered services from:
* Brisbane to Longreach, Barcaldine, Blackall, Charleville and Roma; and
* Cairns to Horn Island and Weipa.

"Qantas was established in Western Queensland more than 87 years ago and QantasLink today has a strong record when it comes to serving regional communities with high quality air services," Mr Kumar said.

"Over the past five years, we have increased capacity and passenger numbers on these Queensland regional routes by over 50 per cent in response to strong growth from both the state's tourism and business sectors."

He said that under the Government's regulation of key regional routes, QantasLink had committed to:
* increased services and capacity;
* the introduction of new resident fares and some fare reductions; and
* reduced travel times with the introduction of new 72-seat Bombardier Q400 aircraft on key services to Horn Island, Weipa, and Longreach.

"QantasLink recently invested $400 million in an additional 12 new Q400s which will allow us to upgrade capacity on key regional routes.

"These state-of the-art aircraft will join our high performance 50-seat Dash 8-Q300s and 36-seat Dash 8-Q200s, ensuring regional Queensland communities have access to the best available aircraft."

Mr Kumar said key changes under the new five-year Air Services Contracts were:

Horn Island:
* a 39 per cent increase in capacity, or 540 additional seats per week;
* 17 return services per week between Horn Island and Cairns, including three daily return services on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and two daily services on other days;
* three return flights per week between Horn Island and Weipa on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays;
* the Q400 to operate most services between Horn Island and Cairns, reducing flying time to one hour and 35 minutes; and
* a new residents-only fare between Horn Island and Cairns, reducing the lowest fare by $76 to $99.

Weipa:
* a 59 per cent increase in capacity, or 736 additional seats per week;
* two additional return services per week, increasing the number of return services per week to16;
* three return flights between Cairns and Weipa on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays;
* two daily return services on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays and one return flight on Saturday;
* three return flights per week between Horn Island and Weipa on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays;
* the Q400 to operate on most services between Weipa and Cairns, reducing flying time to one hour and 20 minutes; and
* a new residents-only fare between Weipa and Cairns, reducing the lowest fare by $60 to $89.

Longreach/Barcaldine/Blackall:
* an 18 per cent increase in capacity, or an additional 159 seats per week;
* one additional return service per week, increasing the number of return services per week from Brisbane to nine;
* the Q400 aircraft will operate three direct weekly return services from Longreach to Brisbane, reducing flight time by 20 per cent to less than two hours;
* return services from Brisbane to Barcaldine and Blackall retained at three per week each; and
* new residents-only fares, reducing the lowest fare from Longreach to Brisbane by $30 to $149 and Barcaldine and Blackall to Brisbane to $139.

Roma/Charleville:
* an 18 per cent increase in capacity, or an additional 451 seats per week;
* four additional weekly return services from Brisbane, increasing the number of return flights per week to 17;
* direct daily services from Brisbane to Charleville on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, reducing flight times by 25 minutes;
* operation of 50-seat Dash 8 Q300 aircraft on most services;
* double daily services on weekdays and Sundays between Brisbane and Roma; and
* new residents-only fares, reducing the lowest fare from Roma to Brisbane by $30 to $89 and Charleville to Brisbane by $34 to $135.

QantasLink currently operates around 2,000 flights each week servicing 52 metropolitan and regional destinations throughout Australia, including 19 cities and towns in Queensland.

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (3715)
Email: qantasmedia@qantas.com.au