Qantas will more than double its flights between Adelaide and Kangaroo Island, following the surprise decision by Regional Express (Rex) to exit the route.
From July, QantasLink will operate 12 return services per week throughout the year. This is an increase from the existing schedule of five return flights per week, and three return services during off-peak.
QantasLink CEO John Gissing, who made the announcement at Adelaide Airport with South Australian Premier Steven Marshall and Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham, said the national carrier wanted to support Kangaroo Island’s recovery from the devastating bush fires.
“Now is the time to be supporting Kangaroo Island, not deserting it,” Mr Gissing said.
“What Kangaroo Island needs over the months and years ahead is for tourists to come back and a reliable air service is vital for that to occur.
“Everyone at Qantas is proud that we are adding more flights and helping Kangaroo Island get back on its feet.”
Flights will be re-timed to enable easy connections through Adelaide for domestic and international tourists visiting the island with Qantas and its partner airlines, including Emirates and American Airlines.
Mr Gissing said Qantas was working closely with South Australian Tourism Commission to support their #BookThemOut campaign to boost tourism to the island.
“We continue to work closely with tourism agencies to get the message out to potential visitors from around Australia and the world that Kangaroo Island remains one of Australia’s most idyllic destinations,” he said.
South Australian Premier Steven Marshall said: “This is a terrific show of support for the Kangaroo Island community, and a significant investment from Qantas.”
“Today’s announcement will give the island and the entire SA tourism sector a major boost of confidence and will encourage more people to #BookThemOut.”
Federal Minister for Tourism Simon Birmingham welcomed the certainty Qantas has provided by increasing this vital service for Kangaroo Island.
“The Kangaroo Island community can now be confident that regular flights to and from the Island will continue, ensuring visitors continue to access the incredible hospitality and natural beauty that Kangaroo Island has to offer,” Minister Birmingham said.
The additional flights will go on sale later this month and will be operated by QantasLink’s 50 seat Q-300 aircraft. Sale fares will start as low as $99 one-way.
QantasLink also operates flights from Melbourne to Kangaroo Island over summer.
Qantas is providing extensive support for bushfire relief efforts, totalling more than $3 million. Since September, Qantas has been moving fire fighters and equipment across the country. The airline donated $1 million to the Red Cross and a further $1 million in donations is being collected from customers.