QantasLink 717s discover Tasmania as mainline flies out

written by australianaviation.com.au | June 1, 2014
The 'Discover Tasmania' QantasLink 717. (Rob Finlayson)
The ‘Discover Tasmania’ QantasLink 717. (Rob Finlayson)

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.

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The last Qantas mainline service from Tasmania was QF1016 from Hobart to Melbourne on Saturday May 31, operated by 737-800 VH-VZV.

An ARFF salute for VH-VZV. (Stuart Rutherford)
An ARFF salute for VH-VZV. (Stuart Rutherford)

20 Comments

  • John Harrison

    says:

    Another cost cutting measure from Qantas management, with no thought to all the hard working staff in Tassie.
    A guy I used to work with in Perth, who transferred to Hobart, is now without a job. What about the Qantas passengers, getting their services down sized from B737-838s to B717s. Well Done all round Qantas management, why not upset everyone in one swift action. very clever.

  • Debbie

    says:

    Not liking this article. Qantas discover Tasmania while it puts workers in other states out of work.
    Qantas need new management. I wont be lying with them again whenever possible.

  • Ben

    says:

    Perhaps Qantas should change its slogan to “Spirit of Mainland Australia”….

  • Mike Twain

    says:

    I really feel for the workers that have lost their jobs from this, never nice.

    But I recall many years ago how DC9’s / MD80’s were so popular. The classic was, that the aircraft had to be 80% full before you ever had to worry about sitting in a middle seat.

    How times have changed that people think the 737 is better…I would rather have my butt in a 717 / MD80-90 any day than on a 737…but that’s my personal choice.

    Just because the aircraft is smaller, does not always mean it is worse.

    The technology in a 717 is still years ahead of the 737, even the Max still has hundreds of switches from the dark ages of 737-100’s…

  • rob

    says:

    i like 717 it is a good aircaft for hobart tasmania and boeing 737-800 was 2 big for hobart tas

  • Dee

    says:

    The B717/MD90 is a far more modern aircraft than the aged DC9/MD80 series. The last MD80’s flown in Australian skies were I think in Compass Mk 2 colours, and that’s way back. But yes, I agree the 717 is the ideal metal for the Tassie run, and roomier than the 738’s it replaces, that’s if QF hasn’t jammed more seats inside.

  • E Lester

    says:

    The 717 is a great aircraft and appropriate for Tasmania where the total population is less than mainland second tier cities. People do need to look at the realities of airline operation in the 21st century.
    Rationalisation is occurring globally as airlines seek to maintain viability. Qantas is not the only business that is shedding staff in the process as difficult as that is for the workers involved.

  • Paule

    says:

    I’m a great fan of the 717! The people of Tasmania are lucky that QANTAS has shifted the market over to QANTASLink instead of withdrawing from these routes altogether and leaving them to Jetstar. It’s a great aircraft that is far superior to the 737 and only 20% of the seats are not window or isle.

  • someone

    says:

    They complained about having a.dash 8 on the Hobart run….so they replace a 3 x daily service of 2 x 737 and 1x dash 8 with 4 x daily 717 service and they still complain! The 717 is a fantastic aircraft and the net gain of jobs in Hobart seems.to have got lost in the Qantas/QantasLink bashing…..get over yourselves Hobart!

  • Colin Steven

    says:

    We are set to get the 717’s into Adelaide via Sydney.

  • Jim

    says:

    I think part of the point here is that it not really Qantas- it’s an aeroplane with Qantas written on it but is actually operated by a company called Cobham Aviation which is part of the Cobham company which is actually English. Now Tasmanians have the choice of a flight operated by an English owned company or a New Zealand/Singapore/UAE owned company but not an Australian owned one. Oh I almost forgot, or they could choose JetStar.

  • Liz

    says:

    Yes the 717 has great genealogy but as a passenger the 717 is definitely a step down from a 737-800 in a whole range of ways. 717s are definitely not roomier than 737s.

    Rob, interesting statement about the 737-800 being too big. Based on what? I understand load factors were in the 80s i.e., 80% or greater. Won’t putting a smaller aircraft on the route make it harder to get a seat?

  • Steph

    says:

    Qantas mainline EBA’s are totally unsustainable in this modern and globalised industry. Today’s pax aren’t willing to pay the ludicrous domestic fares of yesteryear. QLink and Jetstar crew/staff achieve more with fewer resources. QLink and Jetstar are the future of the Qantas Group.

  • Ben

    says:

    I don’t understand why everyone is complaining about what airline is flying, QantasLink has proven time and time again to be much better in terms of service than the Qantas mainline fleet, Qantas pilots still fly the 717, it’s just that the 717’s belong to Cobham Aviation, so what?

  • andrewM

    says:

    “Perhaps Qantas should change its slogan to “Spirit of Mainland Australia”….”
    make that ‘Spirit of Eastern Mainland Australia”

  • Richie

    says:

    Ben – The 717’s are not flown by Qantas pilots, they are flown by Cobham pilots – they are employed by Cobham and are on the Cobham EBA.

    Cobham (previously National Jet Systems) is not owned by Qantas – it is a 100% owned foreign company (UK) and is doing this flying for Qantas under contract, ie. it is outsourced flying.

    QantasLink is not as such a company, it is a NETWORK made up of Cobham, Eastern Australian Airlines (owned by Qantas and based in Sydney) and Sunstate Airlines (again owned by Qantas and based in Queensland).

    Both Sunstate and Eastern’s were previously owned by TAA/Australian Airlines, and so were acquired by Qantas when the merger with TAA occurred.

  • John

    says:

    Steph, whilst some mainline EBAs may be unsustainable, any review of Qantas wages and how they compare with other airlines needs to start at the very top!
    Alan Joyce as CEO is paid well over the odds as CEO, still around 2.7 mil after his pay cut,and for example Tim Clark is on around 1.5 million, CEO of All Nippon 500,000, Japan Airlines CEO took a pay cut because of the problems at JAL, and is now earning 150,000, Singapore Airlines 1.25!
    And in the days of Geoff Dixon his salary was north of 5 million!
    Then in addition Qantas have a bunch of managers earning salaries in excess of a million!
    That is far more unsustainable than the majority of Qantas EBAs!

  • mick prendergast

    says:

    I like the 717 and E-190 on shorter routes.quicker to deplane than a 737!

  • Fed up

    says:

    so now all HBA-MEL/SYD and some MEL/SYD/BNE – CBR flights are Cobham (outsourced employees) NOT Qantas. Not even Qantaslink.

    Qantas…Australia’s Virtual airline.

  • Fed up

    says:

    Hey @Ben…Qantas pilots dont fly the 717…Cobham Pilots, Cobham Cabin Crew and outsourced ground staff, outsourced maintenance.

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