With more Australians taking domestic holidays than ever before due to the country's international borders being closed, Qantas is ramping up its regional network to add seven all-new routes, with a strong focus on sunny Queensland.
Townsville, in tropical far north Queensland, will see fresh non-stop flights from Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, along with a direct Adelaide-Cairns service.
It's no accident that these largely mirror the routes announced last week by challenger Virgin Australia, as both airlines fight for a larger slice of the domestic market.
Also on the Red Roo's regional roster are non-stop flights between Perth and the Gold Coast, Sydney and Uluru, and Adelaide and Hobart.
Most of these trips will take place on the nimble Embraer E190 jets leased by QantasLink from Alliance Airlines, with the 94-seat E-jets better suited to regional routes than the larger 174-seat Boeing 737.
However, the Sydney-Uluru and Perth-Gold Coast flights will be handled by a Boeing 737.
Qantas Domestic and International CEO Andrew David said the new routes would support the growing demand for domestic tourism.
"As most international travel remains off limits for now, Australians are taking more regular holidays within the country and we expect these new direct flights to key tourism destinations will be popular with travellers."
"Previously, (people) travelling between these cities meant a connecting flight in the middle, but now they can fly direct and save at least an hour in the process."
Here's a rundown of what's new on Qantas' schedule:
|Route||Start date||Return flights per week||Aircraft|
|Adelaide – Townsville||August 2021||3 per week||Embraer 190|
|Adelaide – Cairns||August 2021||4 per week||Embraer E190|
|Adelaide – Hobart||September 2021||Up to 7 per week||Embraer E190|
|Sydney – Townsville||September 2021||7 per week||Embraer E190|
|Melbourne – Townsville||September 2021||7 per week||Embraer E190|
|Perth – Gold Coast||September 2021||3 per week||Boeing 737|
|Sydney – Uluru||March 2022||5 per week||Boeing 737
As previously reported, Qantas will begin flying its international Boeing 787-9 between Sydney and Perth as of Wednesday May 26, while also adding more Airbus A330s to Sydney-Perth, Melbourne-Perth, Sydney-Darwin and Brisbane-Darwin.
Read more: The Dreamliner goes domestic