Capacity Growth for QantasLink in Queensland

Brisbane, 07 March 2011

QantasLink today announced it would add approximately 5,000 seats across a range of Queensland regional routes, with the arrival of another new flagship Bombardier Q400 aircraft from 6 April 2011.

Over coming months, Barcaldine, Blackall, Bundaberg, Emerald, Gladstone, Hervey Bay, Longreach, Mackay, Moranbah, Rockhampton and Roma will all benefit from additional and upgraded services to and from Brisbane, with many flights operated by the 74-seat jet-like Q400s.

QantasLink Executive Manager, Mr Narendra Kumar, said the increase in capacity would support the recovery of many central, western and south east Queensland communities affected by the recent devastating floods.

"QantasLink operates to 21 destinations across Queensland, more than any other airline, and more than any other state across our network," Mr Kumar said.

"Regional Queensland has always been central to our operations and, following recent capacity increases for Barcaldine, Blackall, Horn Island and Weipa, we are ready to extend this across even more of our network, to meet travel demand from local communities and industries, including the resources sector."

The arrival of yet another new Q400 will see 12 of these 74-seat aircraft based in Queensland. With 10 other Dash 8 aircraft dedicated to Queensland flying, QantasLink's Queensland Dash 8 fleet will total 22.

Details of the additional seats and Brisbane return services per week (from 6 April):
* Bundaberg
Additional 384 seats per week (12 per cent growth). More than half of the 27 return services now be operated by Q400 aircraft
* Emerald
Additional 888 seats per week (22 per cent growth). Weekly return services to increase by six to 34 return flights, most operated by Q400 aircraft
* Gladstone
Additional 392 seats per week (six per cent growth). Weekly return services to increase by two to 46
* Hervey Bay
Additional 604 seats per week (30 per cent growth), with more services operated by Q400 aircraft
* Mackay
Additional 148 seats per week (four per cent growth). Weekly return services to increase by one to 25, all operated by Q400 aircraft
* MoranbahAdditional 868 seats per week (86 per cent growth). Weekly return services to increase by nine to 20, including a new early morning flight from Brisbane Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday allowing day return travel
* Rockhampton
Additional 880 seats per week (13 per cent growth). 47 return services per week, mainly operated by Q400 aircraft
* Roma
Additional 472 seats per week (29 per cent growth). Weekly return services to increase by five to 22 per week. Five of these will continue to extend to Charleville alongside two direct services to Charleville per week
Short term capacity upgrades using Q400 aircraft will also be provided for Longreach, Barcaldine and Blackall.

The major expansion of services linking Brisbane and Moranbah is in response to demand from the local coal and resources industries. Further expansion of Moranbah capacity, by upgrading more services to Q400 aircraft, will follow once the local airport upgrade is completed.

Mr Kumar said QantasLink, and the Qantas Group, had supported Queensland communities during the recent flood crisis as well as in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Yasi.

"Our customers and communities across Queensland are heavily reliant on air services, and this is particularly the case during times such as these," he said.

"We operated significant additional capacity to meet demand across a number of routes, supported the movement of emergency services personnel and supplies both into and within Queensland and have donated close to $1 million to the Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal."

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 2010. Services linking Perth and Exmouth in Western Australia will also be added from 30 March.

QantasLink has invested more than $850 million in 28 new Q400 aircraft since 2006, with the current fleet of 22 to grow to 28 over the next 18 months. The airline's fleet also includes five Q200, 16 Q300 and 11 B717 aircraft, with a further two B717s recently announced.

QantasLink is also overseeing the operation of the Qantas Group's recently purchased Western Australian resources charter airline Network Aviation. Its fleet of eight aircraft is also set to grow, with the addition of a further 10 Fokker F100s.

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (5083)