Qantas is expanding its network from Canberra (CBR) with the launch of three new nonstop domestic routes over the course of the next month.
Flights to Sunshine Coast (MCY) will start on Nov. 19 operating 3X-weekly, followed by a 2X-weekly service to Cairns (CNS) beginning two days later. A route to Hobart (HBA) opens on Dec. 4 and will be operated 3X-weekly.
The flights will be operated by QantasLink’s dual class Boeing 717s featuring 12 seats in business and 98 seats in economy. The new routes follow on from the recent launch of CBR-Gold Coast (OOL) flights, the reinstatement of flights to Perth (PER) and additional services to Brisbane (BNE).
“With international borders still closed, Australians are more inspired than ever to explore places in their own backyard,” Qantas Domestic & International CEO Andrew David said.
“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.
“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.”
Since state and territory border restrictions eased in September, Qantas has announced nine new routes across Australia.
According to data provided by OAG Schedules Analyser, all three of the routes being launched from CBR had been unserved until recently. However, Alliance Airlines began a 2X-weekly direct service to MCY on Oct. 23 using 100-seat Fokker 100 aircraft.
“Not only is this service important for leisure travel, we know that there is a sizable business community that travel between the Sunshine Coast and Canberra,” CBR head of aviation Michael Thomson said.
On Nov. 5, Link Airways also began flying from CBR to HBA after the Tasmanian Government’s announcement to open borders to the Australian Capital Territory. In 2021, the airline intends to expand the route to 11 return services per week on a 34-passenger seat Saab 340B Plus aircraft.
The connection is the first between the two destinations since Virgin Australia suspended CBR-HBA flights in 2013.
Earlier this month, Qantas confirmed plans to significantly boost its domestic flights after the New South Wales (NSW) state government allowed unrestricted passenger service to resume to Victoria from Nov. 23.
This will allow the carrier to ramp up flights on the Sydney (SYD)-Melbourne (MEL) route, which was one of the busiest in the world before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. There are currently just 10 return flights per week between SYD and MEL, but after Nov. 23 the Qantas Group intends to operate 117 return flights per week.
Photo credit: Nigel Howarth / Aviation Week Network