QantasLink to launch direct air services from Illawarra Region to Melbourne

Sydney, 02 March 2005

QantasLink will commence services between Illawarra Regional Airport at Albion Park on the New South Wales south coast and Melbourne from May this year, subject to regulatory approvals.

Qantas Executive General Manager Regional Airlines, Narendra Kumar, said the services were made possible by the continuing consultation between the airline, BlueScope Steel, Shellharbour and Wollongong City Councils.

"BlueScope Steel in particular has been instrumental in the commencement of these important air services for both the corporate and leisure traveller," he said.

Mr Kumar said the airline would operate seven return services a week on the route - the 50th destination on the QantasLink route network - using 36-seat Dash-8 aircraft.

The QantasLink schedule includes weekday return services for Illawarra originating customers, with a second service on Wednesday and Friday. Services from Melbourne will operate on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, and two return services on Monday and Thursday.

"The Illawarra is the gateway to the New South Wales south coast, with a growing industrial sector and a population of more than 400,000.

"We believe these services will open new and exciting tourism markets in the Illawarra region as well as supporting organisations such as BlueScope Steel, BHP and Wollongong University, Shellharbour and Wollongong City Councils," Mr Kumar said.

The QantasLink schedule and air fares will be published in the coming weeks.

QantasLink offers more than 2,000 flights each week, serving 50 destinations throughout Australia and employing more than 1,000 people.

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (3219)