australian aviation logo

Qantas Cobham purchase brings 717s back in-house

written by Adam Thorn | May 21, 2020

Cobham operates 20 Boeing 717s for Qantas. (Seth Jaworski)
Cobham operates 20 Boeing 717s for Qantas. (Seth Jaworski)

Qantas is continuing to prepare for post-pandemic travel by purchasing National Jet Systems and taking 20 Boeing 717 aircraft back in-house.

The business, run by Cobham, had previously operated the fleet for 15 years on behalf of regional subsidiary QantasLink.

Chief executive John Gissing said, “The B717s provide us with [the] flexibility to service many segments of the domestic market, including regional routes, fly in fly out operations or more frequencies to capital cities. These are the kind of routes where travel demand is likely to recover first.

“Importantly, this is a back-office change which our customers won’t notice.”

The deal effectively kills the 10-year contract with National Jet Systems signed in 2016, however Cobham will continue to operate four cargo jets on behalf of Qantas freight.


Cobham Aviation Services chairman Kim Gillis said, “This outcome is testament to the exceptional levels of service and safety the B717 pilots, cabin crew and support staff have provided to Qantas over the years – I am sure many of them will see this as being brought ‘home’.”

The news comes a day after Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said his airline could “easily” be operating up to 50 per cent capacity in July “if demand is there”.

Speaking to Nine’s Today program, Joyce said, “We don’t think we’ll go back to 100 per cent honestly in July but we have the capability to easily add 40 to 50 per cent of the capacity that we had before COVID-19 in that month and then a ramp up even further every other month.”

You need to be a member to post comments. Become a member today!

Comments (12)

  • AgentGerko


    Does this mean the B717’s will now be Qantas aircraft, or will they still be Qantaslink aircraft? Great aeroplane.

  • Salesh Prasad


    The article says Chairman AJ, it should be CEO AJ

    • Adam Thorn


      You’re completely correct! I’ll update now! It’s a busy time in the world of aviation reporting, and sometimes I do slip.

      Thanks for your comment,


  • Kenneth


    So Cobham will from now, only operate 4 cargo aircraft, and is NOT part of the 717 QantasLink operation anymore? Do I understand that correctly?

    • James



  • Tim


    The 717s were never in house, so there for cannot be brought back in house.

    • James


      Not correct.

      QF purchased Impulse outright in 2000 or 2001. Started operation as Airconnex. So even though operated by a subsidiary, still a 100% owned operation.

  • Andrew


    Id say it would still be operated under QantasLink, flying same routes etc. sunstate still operates under QantasLink

  • David


    Um Adam Alan Joyce Qantas Qantas chairman? Still Qantas Chief Executive Officer isn’t he?

  • Neil


    Will the Boeing 717s be used in off peak times on the main routes,& return them to the NT when flights return between Alice Springs and Darwin. Travelled in one from Alice Springs to Darwin. Beautiful Aircraft to fly in.

  • ssmith3104


    I have always liked the 717’s seating configuration of 2 + 3, which reduces the number of middle seats by 50%.

  • The 717 is an extremely efficient aircraft to operate and a delight to fly in.

Comments are closed.

You don't have credit card details available. You will be redirected to update payment method page. Click OK to continue.