QantasLink to Replace BAe146s with Boeing 717s

SYDNEY, 29 October 2004

QantasLink said today it would replace its fleet of BAe146 aircraft with newer Boeing 717 aircraft from July 2005.

Executive General Manager Regional Airlines, Narendra Kumar, said the Boeing 717 aircraft would move progressively from Jetstar to QantasLink as Jetstar continued to grow its fleet of new Airbus A320s.

"This is a great opportunity for QantasLink and for our customers," Mr Kumar said.

"The newer aircraft will offer fresher cabins for our customers and the extra capacity will stimulate growth on regional routes and allow QantasLink to increase the number of discount seats on these routes."

Mr Kumar said eight Boeing 717s, operating in a 115 seat configuration with a 32 inch seat pitch, would gradually replace eight 65 to 76 seat BAe146s over the 12 months beginning July 2005.

He said QantasLink would continue to fly the remaining two BAe146 aircraft in its fleet, which are leased until December 2006. QantasLink also operates a fleet of 34 Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft.

Mr Kumar said QantasLink would operate the 717s in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland. The routes on which the 717s will operate include:

* Perth-Broome* Perth-Kalgoorlie* Perth-Karratha* Perth-Paraburdoo* Perth-Port Hedland* Perth-Newman* Paraburdoo-Newman* Alice Springs-Ayers Rock * Alice Springs-Broome * Alice Springs-Cairns * Alice Springs-Darwin * Alice Springs-Perth * Ayers Rock-Cairns * Ayers Rock-Perth * Cairns-Gove-Darwin

Mr Kumar said QantasLink would evaluate proposals from both National Jet Systems, which currently operates the airline's BAe146 fleet, and Jetstar, which currently operates the 717 fleet, to operate and maintain the new QantasLink 717 regional flying operations.

He said the changes to the QantasLink and Jetstar fleets would also require assessment of the various options for maintenance of both Airbus A320 and Boeing 717 aircraft. The Qantas Group would continue to keep all interested parties informed of this process.

QantasLink, one of the Qantas Group's four flying businesses, operates more than 1,900 flights a week to around 50 destinations across Australia.

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (3177)