Alliance has agreed a deal with mining company MMG to allow the general public to book tickets on services between Brisbane and Cloncurry and Townsville and Cloncurry.
The move significantly re-establishes a non-stop flight between the Queensland capital and outback town – currently passengers must fly via Qantas or Virgin and transfer at Townsville.
The services will begin on Tuesday, 2 February 2021 and utilise Alliance’s 100-seat Fokker 100 aircraft.
Brisbane to Cloncurry will operate once per week, return, on Tuesdays, while Townsville to Cloncurry will operate twice weekly, return, with morning and afternoon options on Tuesday.
The schedule also allows for day trips to Cloncurry departing Brisbane and Townsville.
The new schedule is:
Brisbane to Cloncurry | QQ 4730 | Depart 0555 | Arrive 0825
Cloncurry to Brisbane | QQ 4731 | Depart 1400 | Arrive 1615
Townsville to Cloncurry | QQ 4721 | Depart 0650 | Arrive 0810
Townsville to Cloncurry | QQ 4727 | Depart 1440 | Arrive 1600
Cloncurry to Townsville | QQ 4722 | Depart 0840 | Arrive 1000
Cloncurry to Townsville | QQ 4728 | Depart 1630 | Arrive 1750
The announcement comes on the day Alliance launches flights between Cairns and Townsville.
VH-UQW, msn 11367, departed Cairns at 7:58am as flight QQ642 and landed at Townsville at 8:39am
The airline is using 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.”