Qantas has today announced a major expansion to its regional network, adding seven new routes across New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria, in response to customer demand.
The announcement means Qantas will be flying to five more destinations across Australia than it was pre-COVID (up from 57 to 62). The airline also today begins flying direct from Sydney to Merimbula on the New South Wales Sapphire Coast for the first time, announced in October.
|Route||Start date||Frequency (return flights per week)|
|Sydney – Griffith||1 Feb 2021||Daily|
|Melbourne – Newcastle||1 Feb 2021||Twelve|
|Melbourne – Merimbula||1 Feb 2021||Four|
|Melbourne – Mount Gambier||28 March 2021||Five|
|Melbourne – Wagga Wagga||28 March 2021||Four|
|Melbourne – Albury||28 March 2021||Four|
|Adelaide – Mount Gambier||28 March 2021||Five|
Qantas is offering special fares for flights on the new routes from $125 one-way, available at qantas.com or through Travel Agents, until 20 December 2020, unless sold out prior.
The flights will largely be operated by the airline’s 50-seat Q300 turboprop aircraft, with upgraded cabin interiors, adding more than 320,000 seats to these regional destinations each year.
Qantas has already introduced a number of initiatives to encourage customers to book with greater flexibility, as well as to improve safety and peace-of-mind when travelling domestically through its Fly Well program
- Melbourne-Gold Coast weekly flights will double – from daily to twice daily – from April 2021 with the new schedule to cater for both corporate and leisure travellers.
- Sydney-Orange flights will increase from three days per week to daily from February 2021.
- Melbourne-Launceston flights will be upgraded from a Q400 aircraft to a larger Boeing 717, adding more than 400 seats on the route each week.
- A number of seasonal routes originally scheduled for the summer have been extended to operate year-round, including Perth-Hobart, Canberra-Hobart, Sydney-Merimbula and Brisbane-Port Macquarie.
QantasLink CEO John Gissing said these new routes were a great opportunity for travellers to explore the best of regional Australia.
“As the national carrier, we have an important role to play in driving tourism and supporting the industry’s recovery,” said Mr Gissing.
“Before COVID, more than 11 million Australians travelled overseas each year, so these flights will help convert some of these international trips into domestic holidays instead.
“We know there is significant pent up demand for travel. These new flights will help more Australians explore some of the incredible places in their own backyard and drive tourism, which is so vital to the local economies of regional areas.
“We’ll be promoting these new flights to millions of our frequent flyers across the country in the lead up to the flights commencing next year.
“We’re also pleased to be able to offer locals more choice and competitive fares on these routes, most of which have been monopolies for years.”
Since domestic border restrictions started to ease in July, Qantas has announced or commenced flying on 13 new routes across Australia. Today’s announcement brings that number to 20.
Qantas has been progressively “waking up” its domestic and regional aircraft to support this new flying, with the vast majority of the airline’s regional fleet expected to be operational by early 2021.
“All our aircraft carry fixed costs, regardless of whether they’re grounded or not. We’d rather get as many aircraft back in the air as we can because it’s better for our business, our customers and gets more of our people back to work,” added Mr Gissing.
Qantas flights continue to have complimentary baggage and food and drink included with every seat. The airline has now opened 30 of its 35 domestic and regional lounges across its network.
Today is the last day to register for Qantas’ Status Fast Track initiative that has seen thousands of members from other airlines switching to Qantas Frequent Flyer to take advantage of the national carrier’s extensive lounge and flying network.
Qantas is also offering customers the opportunity to join its Frequent Flyer program for free until 31 January 2021 via qantas.com/freejoin. Travellers will be able to earn Qantas Points and Status Credits on the new routes as well as using their points to book flights.