Alliance is set to rival Qantas and Rex and launch flights between Townsville and Cairns from 28 January.
The initial weekly service will land on Thursday mornings in Townsville just before 9am before returning at 1pm after a 50-minute flight.
The airline will use its 100-seat Fokker 100 aircraft, compared with its rivals’ smaller SAAB 340s and De Havilland DHC-8 400s.
The service is in addition to Alliance’s service from Cairns to the Sunshine Coast, Canberra and Groote Eylandt.
Alliance has been one of the few success stories of the pandemic, capitalising on the reduced schedule of larger carriers and the need for COVID-adapted planes.
In May 2019, it even announced it had increased profits that financial year by $7 million.
The good results allowed it to sign a deal for 14 new E190 jet aircraft in June and then a further 16 in December. The aircraft will join its existing fleet of 24 Fokker F100, 14 Fokker 70LRs and five Fokker 50 turboprops.
“Alliance, since inception in 2002, has a track record of purchasing aircraft at opportunistic times and at significantly reduced value to their market value,” said Alliance’s managing director Scott McMillan. “With many airlines not flying and the increased demand for a 100-seat narrow-body configured aircraft in the Australian market, this acquisition is more than opportunistic, it underpins our expected growth.
“Given the reduced passengers on mainline routes due to COVID-19, the E190 has the potential to be the perfect aircraft type for some mainline routes.
“Our purchase of 21 aircraft from Austrian Airlines in 2015 resulted in significant growth opportunities as well as providing a long-term supply of spare parts at minimal cost for our ongoing operations.”
Alliance has operational bases in Brisbane, Townsville, Cairns, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Darwin and Rockhampton and a dedicated engineering base at Brisbane Airport.
The new Thursday schedule is below:
Cairns to Townsville (QQ 642) Depart 0800 | Arrive 0850
Townsville to Cairns (QQ 643) Depart 1300 | Arrive 1350