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Qantaslink expands investment in regional Queensland

Brisbane, 28 September 2011

QantasLink has announced a significant boost to its product, service, and schedule offering throughout regional Queensland.

QantasLink’s Executive Manager Narendra Kumar announced that the airline’s two additional B717 aircraft will be based in Brisbane. These new 115 seater aircraft will commence service from early 2012.

In addition QantasLink will expand its network by launching a new Townsville to Moranbah service. From October this service will initially take-off twice a week on Wednesdays and Fridays to provide customers with seamless connections to Cairns and between Far North Queensland and the Bowen Basin coal fields.

QantasLink also celebrated the arrival of a new $30 million next generation 74-seat Bombardier Q400 aircraft, which will deliver the following network enhancements from 17 October 2011:

- Moranbah services will increase in frequency with a new late afternoon service departing from Brisbane at 5 pm on Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. A Saturday service will also be introduced for the first time.
- Emerald customers will have access to an additional 396 seats per week with new flights introduced on Wednesdays and Saturdays. These upgrades will lift the number of return services to 38 per week
- Customers travelling between Cairns and Weipa will enjoy two additional services on Tuesdays and Thursdays which will result in QantasLink offering 16 return flights and 1016 seats per week on this route.

QantasLink will also offer increased capacity with a 50 seat Q300 aircraft on the following routes:

- Roma will be serviced by six return services per day between Monday and Friday and two return services on Saturdays and Sundays.
- Charleville will be serviced by a new direct service from Brisbane taking the number of direct services to four return services per week.

In addition to these announcements a new Qantas Regional Lounge will be officially opened in Emerald to offer Qantas Club members, and Platinum and Gold Frequent Flyers greater levels of comfort when travelling through this port.

Mr Narendra Kumar said these product and schedule enhancements represented a significant increase in QantasLink’s investment in regional Queensland and were in response to customer demand for more services to and from regional Queensland.

"QantasLink has continued to respond to regional Queensland communities who rely on air services by introducing a new schedule that connects them with Brisbane and beyond.

“These new services will also support Queensland’s booming resource sector which will benefit through the link these services will provide to key mining centres across the state,” he said.

Queensland Tourism, Manufacturing and Small Business Minister Jan Jarratt welcomed QantasLink’s increased investment, describing it as a boost for regional Queensland.

“These new QantasLink services will be fantastic for people in our resource centres and they will also serve to open up regions to new tourism opportunities,” she said.

“Queensland is where Australia shines and these additional services and new aircraft will give more visitors even more reason to stay a little longer and enjoy what our incredible State has to offer.”

Background

As the country's largest regional airline, QantasLink is embedded in regional Australia. With a network of 56 metropolitan and country destinations across all states and territories, the airline also launched its first international destination - Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea - in July 2010. Services linking Perth and Exmouth in Western Australia commenced on 30 March. Further services in WA between Perth and Geraldton will also commence 21 November 2011.

QantasLink has invested more than $850 million in 28 new Q400 aircraft since 2006, with the current fleet of 25 Q400 aircraft to grow to 28 over the next 18 months. The airline's fleet also includes five Q200, 16 Q300 and 11 B717 aircraft.

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

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (5186)
Email: qantasmedia@qantas.com.au