Qantas' regional arm QantasLink is embarking on what it calls "a complete rebuild" of its network and schedule for the Q400 and Q300 turboprop planes.
The changes echo moves made by Qantas' domestic and international divisions to trim operating costs by boosting aircraft utilisation and more closely align capacity with demand across several routes.
However, while some routes will see larger Q400 aircraft replacing the current Q300 turboprops, some routes will be downgraded or axed completely.
Queensland will be hardest hit with the closure of Gladstone–Rockhampton services, while Rockhampton-Mackay flights will be reduced from two flights a day to a single daily service.
Qantas says that Brisbane–Gladstone, Brisbane–Rockhampton and Brisbane–Biloela services "will be reduced marginally to match capacity to demand", although it has not shared the specific details of those cuts.
Mackay-Townsville services will be reduced from four per day to three per day, although Qantas says this will be "partially offset" as all flights will in future run on 74-seat Q400 aircraft.
Similarly, a shift to the Q400s is designed to allow Cairns-Townsville services to be trimmed from seven flights each day to five per day, along with "a marginal reduction in frequency" for Cairns to Weipa and Horn Island services.
Brisbane–Newcastle will also see a shift to Q400 services, "partially offsetting (a) reduction in Jetstar capacity."
QantasLink's turboprop bases are also in for a shuffle, with the closure of the Q400 pilot base in Perth but the creation of a Q300 base in Adelaide.
All QantasLink services out of Adelaide will be operated by Q300 aircraft, while QantasLink will also consider "new route opportunities in South Australian regional markets."
"We are in discussions with a number of stakeholders and expect to announce a new route in the coming weeks" the airline said in a statement.
Cairns will become a Q400-only base to support the upgrading of many Queensland regional flights to that aircraft.
From March next year, all QantasLink services out of Perth will be operated by either QantasLink Boeing 717s or Fokker 100s operated by Qantas' Perth-based charter operator Network Aviation.
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