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Thursday, November 26, 2020

Qantas boosts competition in Canberra with three new routes

Qantas will step into competition with small carriers Link Airways and Alliance Airlines in the Canberra market, today announcing three new routes from the national capital to the Sunshine Coast, Hobart and Cairns.

The announcement comes after Link Airways’ first flight to Hobart took off yesterday, while Alliance Airlines’ double destination service to the Sunshine Coast and Cairns has been operating since 23 October.

Canberra Airport head of aviation Michael Thomson said increasing the number of carriers across routes would ultimately benefit travellers.

“I think the opportunity is to have competition which should ultimately be to the benefit to travellers out of Canberra,” he said.

“The prices Link and Alliance have established and the prices Qantas have come out with today are really competitive and that’s good for everyone.

“We believe there is room for everyone, and we want everyone to succeed.”

The Qantas flights are set to take off from 19 November to the Sunshine Coast, 21 November to Cairns, and 4 December to Hobart.

Qantas Domestic & International CEO Andrew David said the new routes would give Australians the opportunity to explore the country while international borders remained closed.

“We’ve taken a fresh look at our network, creating new direct services which were previously only available by connecting via another city, saving customers up to two hours’ travel time,” Mr David said.

“These flights are great news for travellers who will now have more direct flights between Canberra and Cairns, Noosa and Hobart. It will also mean we can get more of our people back to work.”

The Hobart and Sunshine Coast routes will operate three times per week, while the Canberra to Cairns route will operate twice weekly.

Mr Thomson said the increase in direct flights to Australian locations would hopefully also increase demand.

“Certainly, our review of numbers suggests all three of those routes were underserved by virtue of having to stop over somewhere,” he said.  

“So the direct flights will serve the demand that was already there pre-COVID but should stimulate demand.”

The Qantas flights will run on the carrier’s Boeing 717s 110-seater planes, while Link Airways runs its flight to Hobart on a 34-seater.

Alliance Airlines runs its double-destination service to the Sunshine Coast and Cairns on its 100-seat Fokker jet.

Qantas is launching the three routes with sale fares for three days:

  • Canberra-Cairns from $199 one way
  • Canberra-Sunshine Coast from $169 one way
  • Canberra-Hobart from $159 one way

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Ian Cubitts
Ian Cubitts