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Link plans to fly Canberra–Hobart in December

written by Adam Thorn | September 29, 2020
Link Saab 340B Plus 2
A Saab 340B Plus in new Link livery (Link)

Link Airways will launch a new route between Canberra and Hobart on 3 December – if Tasmania sticks to its plan to open borders on 1 December.

The airline has also revealed it has the potential to launch the service earlier, following hints by Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein that movement restrictions could be relaxed in at the end of October.

Tasmania currently requires all residents entering the state to home quarantine for 14 days, and non-residents to undertake the same in a government facility. The ACT has kept its borders open to all states bar Victoria.

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The flights will depart Canberra at 9:30am and arrive into Hobart at 11:35am, while the return service will depart Hobart at 12:05pm and land in Canberra at 2:05pm.

The route, serviced by the airline’s Saab 340B Plus aircraft, will initially operate four times a week but there are plans to shift that up to 11 in 2021.

Earlier this month, Premier Gutwein signalled he’s keen to try and open Tasmania earlier than the planned date in December.

“We are not declaring that we will open early [but] I think there is a good chance we would be able to open towards the end of the month [of October],” he said.

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“Obviously the circumstances of each of those jurisdictions will be what will inform our decision, as well as our health preparedness, our aged care preparedness as well.”

The announcement brings more good news to ACT residents after Alliance said it would launch a twice-weekly service between Canberra, the Sunshine Coast and Cairns from 23 October.

Canberra Airport’s head of aviation, Michael Thomson, said, “We’re excited to partner with a local Canberra business to connect travellers with Tasmania.”

Regional airline Fly Corporate rebranded to Link Airways in August and operates from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne to regional Queensland and NSW, with a fleet of Saab 340B Plus and Metro 23 aircraft.

Link Airways’ current network includes Armidale, Biloela (Thangool), Brisbane, Coffs Harbour, Dubbo, Inverell, Melbourne (Essendon), Narrabri, Orange, Sydney, Tamworth and Wollongong (Shellharbour).

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8 Comments

  • shsgh

    says:

    That is a long time to be in a SAAB. I wonder how cost effective that is compared to a faster craft like a ERJ135 or CRJ200 that could do the trip in almost half the time.

  • AlanH

    says:

    And why not Launceston too?

  • Anton

    says:

    Finally! A relief for Canberrans wanting to travel to Tasmania direct!

  • James

    says:

    SHSGH

    Not that big of a deal being in a Saab.

    The operating costs alone of a small jet compared to the 340 mean it wouldn’t work.

    This is great news.

  • SHSGH

    says:

    Do you have any figures for that James? A flight that long should be optimal for a small jet like the ERJ135 and a bit long to be optimal for a slow prop. The ERJ135 surely has a significantly higher hourly flight cost but cruises at about 400kt compared to about 260kt for the Saab so would clock up far fewer flying hours due to less time in the air. It’d be a smoother and quieter ride too. These small jets must work on routes like this as most routes like this around the world are operated by small jets these days rather than props.

  • Dave

    says:

    well Link dont have an ERJ so its a moot point….can only fly the aircraft they have!

  • James

    says:

    SHSGH

    You could be right. But historically it’s proven that jets in that seat category are unsuccessful in Australia. A variety of reasons exist. Crew costs, training (no sim in Australia), lease costs, fuel..

    Raw numbers for this particular route might not tell the full story.

  • D Cistillo

    says:

    This won’t last the corporate and government market are all going to fly Qantas and to a lesser extent virgin via Melb or the direct flight Qf have just announced. 2 hours in a rickety old saab 340 would not be very appealing

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