Qantas has unveiled a specially marked QantasLink 717 to mark the transition from Qantas mainline to QantasLink operated services to Tasmania.
In January Qantas announced plans transition its Melbourne and Sydney to Hobart services from mainline 737s and QantasLink Dash 8 Q400 turboprops to QantasLink 717s, which are operated on Qantas’s behalf under a contract arrangement by Cobham Aviation. As a consequence Cobham was to establish a pilot and flight attendant base in Tasmania, but over 30 Qantas mainline ground staff positions in Tasmania were lost, with ground handling instead now provided by contractor Oceania Ground Handling.
To mark the introduction of 717s to Tasmania VH-YQW, one of five 717s Qantas acquired to be operated by QantasLink on flights from Canberra to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, and from Sydney and Melbourne to Hobart, has been named Tassie Devil and features ‘Discover Tasmania’ titles featuring a Tasmanian devil design. Unlike the one-class 717s QantasLink operates in WA and Queensland, these aircraft were refurbished with a two-class cabin and feature iPad inflight entertainment to every seat.
The last Qantas mainline service from Tasmania was QF1016 from Hobart to Melbourne on Saturday May 31, operated by 737-800 VH-VZV.