QantasLink revamps network, schedules: what you need to know

By David Flynn, November 26 2014

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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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2013

Total posts 305

I'm surprised Qantaslink haven't tried a Q400 service linking Canberra and Hobart. Virgin Australia did this for quite a while with the Embraer jet, however couldn't attract quite enough traffic. Qantas has more of the corporate/government market though and I could see this working with the 76 seat Q400 turboprop.

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 279

Disappointed the Q400 Adelaide Melbourne has gone.Will Canberra be switching back to two 737's with all other flights now going through Melbourne or Sydney.I do remember the days of the lunchtime 727 and later 737 that Australian used to operate ADL TO CBR via MEL returning back six hours later.Ansett used the same plus the later A320's and once when I flew MEL TO ADL in 1989 on that sector they due to it being the Queens Birthday weekend upgraded the service up to a 767.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2013

Total posts 305

Why are you dissapointed that the Q400 ADL-MEL service has gone? It was a downgrade to begin with. This service between two of our largest cities should never have been operated by a slower, smaller prop aircraft. This route should be served by jet aircraft 100% of the time.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 342

Why am I not surprised that QLD is the hardest hit? Qantas should be renamed as Santas. Appropriate for the holiday season!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Nov 2011

Total posts 110

If there isn't demand and the planes aren't going out full, why should they operate the route? Its not a charity...

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1242

When QF culls services they get canned. Those same people never credit QF when a new service is launched. 

QantasFF Platinum

16 Feb 2012

Total posts 153

Great news about the new service to be announced shortly. Lets hope is the much anticipated Mount Gambier launch. MGB upgraded their runway several months back to 'accomodate the QantasLink Q400' 

Will be a pity to downgrade to the Q300 for the Port Lincoln flights...

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 279

They could do with competition down that way.Short of Driving Yourself Other than Rex there isn't any alternative out of Adelaide to Mt Gambier.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Sep 2011

Total posts 24

Qantas have certainly severely downgraded services to the Pilbara - reduced numbers and increased cancellations.  Of particular annoyance to many is the deletion of the 0805 Saturday service KTA PER which enabled the many who have East Coast connections to make a reasonably civilised return home. Now, if lucky, they can get home by midnight. Many are inconvenienced: but the hey, Qantas do have a very nice new HQ and the CEO retains a great package so at least they get their priorities right. 

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