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Qantas starting Darwin-Broome flights in October 2019

written by australianaviation.com.au | June 13, 2019
A file image of a Fokker 100 in QantasLink livery (Qantas)
The first Network Aviation Fokker 100 in QantasLink colours VH-NHY. (Qantas)

Qantas has announced a new marketing agreement with Tourism NT, a new route between Darwin and Broome, and a switch to a smaller aircraft on its Darwin-Alice Springs route.

The three-year marketing partnership, which was worth up to $4.5 million and replaces an agreement signed in 2016, would be aimed at attracting more tourists to the Top End with promotional activity focused both in Australia and across important overseas markets such as the United States, Qantas said on Thursday.

The airline would also promote the Northern Territory through its marketing and digital platforms, including the airline’s 12 million frequent flyers. Also, the campaign included collaboration on media and industry initiatives, promotion of special fares and major events including Parrtjima, the Darwin Festival, and spectacular light installations by British artist Bruce Monroe.

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“Qantas is proud to be the biggest private sector supporter of tourism to the Northern Territory and this deal will see us continue sharing this special place with the rest of Australia and the world,” Qantas chief marketing officer Stephanie Tully said in a statement.

From October 27 2019, Qantas will operate a new three times weekly nonstop flight between Darwin and Broome in Western Australia with Fokker 100 aircraft.

It will be the only airline offering nonstop flights on the route. The other airline flying between the two cities is regional carrier Airnorth, which has a daily Broome-Kununurra-Darwin service with Embraer E170 equipment.

Qantas said launching Darwin-Broome flights was made possible by downgauging its Darwin-Alice Springs service from the Boeing 737-800, which had “proven to be bigger than needed”, to the Fokker 100, also from October 27.

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The airline said the Fokker 100, which has 100 economy class seats in a single-class configuration, better matched existing and forecasted demand on the route. The aircraft type is operated by Qantas subsidiary Network Aviation.

It marks a quick change of mind at Qantas headquarters, given it announced the switch from 125-seat single-class Boeing 717s to 174-seat two-class 737-800s for Darwin-Alice Springs in November 2018, with the change of gauge taking place in March 2019.

Also, Qantas said it planned to expand its discounted regional airfares scheme to residents of Yulara and surrounding communities, who will now join Alice Springs residents in having access to more affordable air travel to Darwin.

The program offers discounts of 20 to 30 per cent off any economy flight to Darwin, except sale fares, for up to 12 return fares for personal travel each year.

The discounts represented a saving at least $122 off the cost of a return trip, Qantas said.

Figures from the 2017 census showed Yulara, located about 450km south of Alice Springs and 20km from Uluru, had a population of about 1,100 people.

A file image of a Qantas Boeing 737-800 at Darwin Airport. (Rob Finlayson)
A file image of a Qantas Boeing 737-800 at Darwin Airport. (Rob Finlayson)

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