Qantas is boosting service to Queensland with a return to Maroochydore (Sunshine Coast) from December and new flights to the Gold Coast due to take off from October.
The start of a new daily Melbourne-Gold Coast non-stops from October 25 with Boeing 737-800s builds on Qantas’s return to the Glitter Strip three years ago in 2012 when it started three times daily flights from Sydney and converted the Jetstar lounge at the airport to a Qantas Club.
Meanwhile, two-class QantasLink Boeing 717s, which are operated on behalf of the airline by Cobham Aviation Services, will begin flying six times a week between Sydney and Maroochydore from December 21. Qantas last flew to Maroochydore nearly 10 years ago.
Qantas’s low-cost unit Jetstar is already on both the Sydney-Maroochydore and Melbourne-Gold Coast routes.
“These new services help us meet the growing demand for premium leisure services between Sydney and Maroochydore and Melbourne and the Gold Coast,” Qantas domestic chief executive Andrew David said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Offering both airlines on these routes means we can appeal to leisure travellers with Jetstar while Qantas caters for more premium leisure and business customers. Ultimately, it’s about giving people more choice.”
Qantas and Jetstar compete with Virgin Australia between Sydney and Maroochydore, while Virgin and its low-cost offshoot Tigerair Australia are both on the Melbourne-Gold Coast route.
The Flying Kangaroo also flagged more flights on the Sydney-Gold Coast route from February, as well as an increased flying schedule out of Hobart.
These additional flights would be supported by additional two 717 joining the fleet on lease from early 2016, which would bring the total number of the type to 20 and redeploying aircraft from Western Australia due to the slowdown in mining activity, as well as the previously announced move to add more flying hours to its Boeing 737 fleet by reducing turnaround times to 35 minutes for a greater number of flights.
(See the July edition of Australian Aviation for more on Qantas’s efforts to improve fleet utilisation, on sale now.)