QantasLink is set to begin regular international hops to Timor-Leste on its Embraer E190s, under its ongoing wet lease agreement with Alliance Airlines.
Further, Qantas has announced Darwin will become a new jet base for its growing E190 fleet. The Flying Kangaroo is currently operating five Alliance E190s under the arrangement, however, has planned to operate at least eight.
The announcement comes hot off the heels of the news that Qantas will continue to operate its Kangaroo Route connecting Australia and London via Darwin, due to Western Australia’s ongoing border uncertainty.
At least four E190s will soon be based in Darwin to service key QantasLink routes across regional Australia, as well as a new permanent passenger service from Darwin to Dili in Timor-Leste.
Qantas has been operating weekly flights between Darwin and Dili since February 2021 in partnership with the Australian government, in order to “maintain critical passenger and freight links with Timor-Leste”, however, this service is now planned to ramp up and become a permanent commercial route.
QantasLink will initially operate three flights per week to Dili on its E190s, ramping up to five flights each week from July.
The regional carrier has also announced three new domestic routes from Darwin to Canberra, Cairsn and Townsville, all to be performed also on its E190s.
The airline said that combined, both announcements will boost both employment opportunities and tourism in the Top End, with at least 90 new pilots, cabin crew and engineering roles to be introduced.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce joined Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner to make the announcement and unveil the first E190 in QantasLink livery at Darwin Airport and said the new base would secure more travel options for Territorians with flow on effects for the local economy.
“The E190 is a fantastic aircraft and the new routes and frequencies they have supported means that Darwin is better positioned to take advantage of the comeback of domestic tourism and business travel,” Joyce said.
“Basing these aircraft in Darwin means securing more jobs and a stronger local aviation industry.
“As we prepare to welcome back international visitors, the E190s will make it easier to fly directly between Darwin and other popular tourist destinations including Alice Springs for central Australia, encouraging travellers to see more of Australia.
“The E190 allows us to improve our schedule for NT travellers. When we first introduced the E190 on our Darwin to Adelaide flights, we were able to double the number of flights we offered each day, giving customers more choice about when they travel. We look forward to providing this flexibility across other new and existing routes.”