Qantas has announced a further ramping up of its domestic services, with seven new routes and larger aircraft being added to selected destinations.
Three new routes are being added from Townsville to Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney, with two routes from Adelaide to Cairns and Hobart, a Sydney-Uluru service, and flights from Perth to Gold Coast.
The seven new routes will either be operated by B737 aircraft, or Embraer E190s as part of QantasLink’s partnership with Alliance Airlines.
Meanwhile the carrier is to roster its 236-seat B787-9 aircraft onto selected flights between Sydney and Perth. The Dreamliners are usually used for long-haul flights including Perth-London, and feature Qantas’ Business Suites.
With the airline not resuming international flights (aside from the trans-Tasman bubble) until at least December, Qantas is also set to operate more of its widebody A330-200s on domestic routes including Sydney and Brisbane to Darwin, and Melbourne and Sydney to Perth.
Last week the carrier said that domestic corporate travel was now at 75 per cent of pre-Covid levels (up from 65 per cent in April), and domestic flying is “expected to almost double between the first and second half of this financial year”.
“As most international travel remains off limits for now, Australians are taking more regular holidays within the country and we expect these new direct flights to key tourism destinations will be popular with travellers,” said Qantas domestic and international CEO Andrew David.
“Our customers now have 45 more routes to fly than we had pre-Covid making it even easier for them to get to their next holiday or business meeting. Previously, travelling between these cities meant a connecting flight in the middle, but now they can fly direct and save at least an hour in the process.
“Our strategy of adding new domestic routes is generating revenue from our aircraft rather than leaving them on the ground. It means more work for our people and even more low fares for our customers.
“We know how popular the 787s and A330s are with our customers on our international network and we think there will be huge demand for the domestic flights these aircraft operate on, particularly frequent flyers looking to use points.
“Qantas is also the only airline in Australia operating these widebody aircraft which offer Business Suites and inflight entertainment for all customers.”
Earlier this month Virgin Australia announced plans to add over 700 weekly flights across its domestic network by October, including increased frequencies on the Sydney-Brisbane-Melbourne triangle “to support corporate and small to medium sized business travel”.