Qantas launches Canberra-Darwin, Adelaide-Gold Coast flights

Adding eight extra Embraer E190 jets to its fleet, QantasLink is preparing for take-off.

By Chris C., May 7 2021
Qantas launches Canberra-Darwin, Adelaide-Gold Coast flights

QantasLink will debut non-stop flights between Canberra and Darwin next month, along with a new Adelaide-Gold Coast service.

Using Embraer E190 jets leased from Alliance Airlines, flights between Darwin and the national capital are the first to kick off, taking wing from June 21.

That's followed shortly after with the new Adelaide-Gold Coast route, running four times a week from June 25.

Those E190s will be painted in QantasLink colours and offer 10 seats in business class and 84 in economy – but without WiFi or video streaming, passengers will want to bring their own device pre-loaded with entertainment.

Qantas had originally committed to leasing three E190s from Alliance, with this move pushing that to eight: and with options for six more.

"The E190 is a great aircraft for the Adelaide market, with its size, range and economics opening up a number of new destinations that wouldn’t be viable with the larger 737 aircraft," said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.

"We’re continuing to see really positive signs of sustained recovery, with strong travel demand and forward bookings expected to see our domestic capacity back above 100 per cent of pre-COVID levels in the coming months."

Although the full details of Alliance's E190 cabin remains under wraps, economy passengers on the E190 won't have to contend with a middle seat, as the width of the plane only supports a 2-2 seating layout at most, versus 3-3 of the Boeing 737.

Qantas owns just under 20% of Alliance Airlines, which in turn, also flies on behalf of Virgin Australia to a range of regional destinations such as Gladstone and Port Macquarie.

Even more Qantas flights for Adelaide

Beyond these new Embraer E190 routes, Qantas is ramping up Adelaide flights operated by its other aircraft types.

The Flying Kangaroo plans to offer an extra daily return flight between Adelaide and Sydney in the coming months, along with an added daily return flight between Adelaide and Melbourne: both operated by Boeing 737 jets.

From July 1, QantasLink is also boosting flights between Adelaide and Mt Gambier, rising from five to 12 return flights per week.

With double-daily flights available on most days, it'll become possible for travellers to make a same-day return trip, coming as a boost to local business travel.

Qantas also plans to announce "a number of additional routes from Adelaide" in the coming weeks.

Previously, the airline had confirmed its plans to use the first three of its Alliance E190s from June on flights from Adelaide to Alice Springs, Adelaide to Darwin, and Darwin to Alice Springs.

Competition fierce in South Australian skies

Adelaide is experiencing something of a domestic travel boom, bolstered further by extra flights to Australian wine country, and upgraded airport amenities for travellers passing through Adelaide.

Earlier this year, Qantas rival Virgin Australia opened the first of its new-look domestic lounges, housed at Adelaide Airport and offering passengers a variety of food and drinks via table service, as well as seasonal wine tastings.

Adelaide Airport itself also remains under refurbishment, with a new international departures area now open, and works on its terminal expansion and broader face-lift continuing.

More broadly, Rex recently launched flights between Adelaide and Melbourne, with economy fares starting at $69 one-way.

Additionally, Rex operates lounge facilities in both cities, serving its business class passengers and lounge members, along with Priority Pass cardholders who can visit Rex Lounges with travelling with any airline, including Qantas or Virgin Australia.

Earlier this week, Air New Zealand also celebrated its first commercial flight to Adelaide in over a year, with quarantine-free travel and direct flights now linking South Australia and New Zealand.

Also read: Qantas adopts Alliance Embraer E190 for regional routes

Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

01 Nov 2017

Total posts 16

So many new routes that didn't exist pre-COVID; pretty awesome!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2013

Total posts 372

It's great to see. Hobart has benefitted too, with Qantas now flying direct from Perth, Canberra and Brisbane - three routes which did exist for them before Covid-19.

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 378

Would I be right in assuming these are wet leased from Alliance?

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1209

Yes definitely a wet-lease, all crew will be Alliance staff though, unlike some other Alliance services, aircraft will be painted in QFLink livery and the cabin crew will probably be wearing Qantas uniforms.

Heres to hoping that in the post-Covid world and with A321s joining the fleet Qantas relaunches flights to Asia from Adelaide! Of Emirates don't come back we are left pretty bare with QFF options (Qatar/Cathay/Malaysia earning pts are pitiful from Adelaide)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Mar 2020

Total posts 4

Darwin also getting A330's from Sydney and Brisbane. Can't wait to fly a wide body on my DRW-SYD commutes 

10 Aug 2020

Total posts 21

Darwin is a great place to visit.. used to do stop over there on my way to Asia.. I won't be travelling there again until my rights and freedom to travel overseas from there are restored.. sorry Darwin but you won't be seeing any of my dollars or any state in Australia... 

Etihad - Etihad Guest

16 Feb 2019

Total posts 4

what a ridiculous comment

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 466

great to see adelaide-gold coast return on qantas and direct some more.shame it was launched after i booked my flights with virgin for christmas.


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1425

The Canberra Darwin will most likely be military and quarantine related given the facilities there. A bit like the  flights they had during the NT intervention.

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