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Aussie skeleton air service fleshes out with government aid

April 20, 2020 Headline News No Comments
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Qantas and Virgin Australia will add more than 200 flights a week around Australia between them, now that the Federal Government has agreed to give them AUD 160 million to operate vital domestic routes.

Many of the flights would not otherwise be commercially viable, given that the government is discouraging people from flying – but they will help move essential supplies and personnel around the country while the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis continues.

By last week, domestic services in Australia had shrunk to 105 services a week from Qantas and one return route six days a week from Virgin.

The Qantas Group issued the following statement:

Qantas and Jetstar are pleased to help form part of the minimum domestic and regional network supported by the Australian Government.

This will see the number of passenger flights we operate increase from 105 per week currently to 164 per week to all capital cities and 36 regional destinations. 

While travel restrictions mean most passenger flights are not commercially viable at the moment, there remains a need for some essential travel – particularly given the distances between most Australian cities.

These flights will also provide critical freight capacity, which has fallen significantly as commercial air networks have shrunk. Much of the bellyspace on these flights will be used for mail and other urgent shipments, including medical equipment.

The temporary regional network focuses on towns that are more than two hours’ drive from key transport hubs.

The Qantas Group appreciates the support the Federal Government has provided to the Australian aviation industry through the minimum domestic and international networks, the $715 million rebate package and, more broadly, JobKeeper.

Importantly these additional services will see more planes in the air and ensure communities stay connected and assist with the movement of critical freight around the country.

While the risk of contracting Coronavirus on board an aircraft is regarded as low, social distancing has been put in place across all flights.

Similarly, on-board service will be a scaled back version of what would normally apply, with cabin crew focused on in-flight safety and they will wear personal protective equipment. On behalf of the Qantas Group, we sincerely thank our crew for their willingness to make these important flights possible.

The additional flights will roll out from Friday 17 April and be fully operational by Monday 20 April. Fares can be booked as per normal via Qantas.com and Jetstar.com. Customers are reminded that various quarantine restrictions apply across states and territories.

Services will be operated by a mix of Airbus A320s and A330s, Boeing 737s and Dash 8 turboprops.

The domestic and regional networks operated by Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar are in addition to a small number of international flights (operated by Qantas) and ongoing operations by Qantas Freight as part of the national carrier’s role in maintaining critical transport links.

Below: A few planes still flying. The maps shows all flights in Australia and on the Tasman, both international and domestic, yesterday afternoon (Sunday 19 April 2020). Source: FlightRadar24

TRUNK ROUTES
Adelaide – Melbourne           Adelaide – Sydney

Brisbane – Melbourne           Brisbane – Sydney

Canberra – Melbourne          Canberra – Sydney

Melbourne – Hobart              Melbourne – Perth

Melbourne – Sydney             Perth – Sydney

 

REGIONAL NETWORK

 

VIC/TAS Melbourne – Mildura

Melbourne – Launceston

QLD

 

 

 

Brisbane – Cairns

Brisbane – Emerald

Brisbane – Gladstone

Brisbane – Mt Isa

Brisbane – Longreach

Brisbane – Mackay

Brisbane – Moranbah

Brisbane – Roma

Brisbane – Rockhampton

Brisbane – Townsville

Cloncurry – Mt Isa

Cloncurry – Townsville

Cairns – Horn Island

Cairns – Townsville

Cairns – Weipa

Charleville – Roma

Mackay – Rockhampton

Mackay – Townsville

Townsville – Rockhampton

 

NSW  

Albury – Sydney

Armidale – Sydney

Ballina – Sydney

Coffs Harbour – Sydney

Dubbo – Sydney

Lord Howe Island – Sydney

Tamworth – Sydney

Wagga Wagga – Sydney

 

SA  

Adelaide – Kangaroo Island

Adelaide – Port Lincoln

Adelaide – Whyalla

 

NT  

Alice Springs – Darwin

Alice Springs – Sydney

Brisbane – Darwin

 

WA Newman – Perth

Broome – Perth

Geraldton – Perth

Kalgoorlie – Perth

Learmonth – Perth

Port Hedland – Perth

Karratha – Perth

 

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