QANTAS is to increase services to the Territory.
The total number of flights will rise from 139 to 153 a week.
The move comes two weeks after Tiger Air announced it would start flying the Darwin-Melbourne and Alice Springs-Melbourne routes from December.
Prices to Melbourne are as low as $99 from Darwin and $49 from Alice.
Qantas said yesterday that it would provide additional frequency, increased capacity and more jobs in the Territory.
Under the new schedule, the national carrier will:
MAKE the day-time return B737 service between Sydney and Darwin year-round, with a minimum three flights a week and more during the dry season.
OPERATE four additional return B737 flights a week to Alice from the east coast during the Dry, an increase of nearly 700 seats a week.
MOVE to an all-B717 operation Darwin-Alice and Cairns-Uluru, increasing frequencies on both routes during the dry season from 14 to 17 a week.
MOVE to an all-B717 operation between Cairns and Darwin, increasing frequencies on the route by four a week during the Dry and two a week during the Wet.
The new schedules will come into effect in October.
An additional B717 will be based in Darwin, adding a total of 30 new pilot, cabin crew and engineering jobs in the city and Alice.
The airline's Territory manager John Cason said: "Qantas will provide more services and more seats to support peak season demand.
"With this new mix of aircraft on our Territory services, Qantas will offer the right capacity to suit seasonal demand ... for the mix of business and leisure traffic."
Tourism Minister Paul Henderson said the joint marketing campaigns with Qantas were paying off.
Firstly - the reason I'm happy - is we finally have a year-round daytime service to Sydney. Not daily (yet) but I believe it will be, given the chance (go ahead and give the red-eye to JQ, nobody wants it). Down grade the 767 to a 737 (or A320), and given many presently transit BNE, should be able to sustain 2x737s a day.
Although I find it funny that to combat Tiger flying MEL - DRW, Qantas will combat with increasing SYD - DRW flights. What the? Anyway, I'm not complaining. (easy enough to connect to MEL via SYD or ADL).
The loss of the DRW-CNS route on a 737 is a little sad, but if it's replaced by a direct 717 service (not via Gove) then I can live with it. At the end of the day, more DRW - CNS flghts means more options for connections (especially to BNE, given the amount of CNS - BNE flights). It would be great to have a late afternoon flight out of DRW - say 1600ish.
Don't really care about the ASP services - never understood why we had 737 services (to DRW) to start with (other than transits from MEL, where the ACFT comes from.) I heard it never did really well.
The past few weeks aparently every single seat has been sold out of darwin, sometimes for a period of up to 5 days ahead (ie - you can't get out of Darwin for five days at a given time). I had a friend who's grandmother died, and the family had to delay the funeral so he could fly down.
So probably not a bad time to push for more services. And QF services at that (unlike usual, where JQ claim new services, which are just taken from QF).
So I guess this will leave us with:
BNE: DAILY QF, 6xWEEKLY JQ
ADL: DAILY QF, 5xWEEKLY JQ
MEL: DAILY JQ (wonder if they'll pull out this wet season like they did last year?)
PER: DAILY QF, DAILY QFlink via ASP
SYD: 1-2x DAILY QF (how long till JQ takes one of them, as per BNE,MEL and ADL?)
CNS: I think - 1xDAILY QFlink via GOV, 1-2xDAILY QFlink direct
ASP: I think - 1-2xDAILY QFlink (some continuing to PER)
GOV: I assume - DAILY QFlink (continuing to CNS)
Perhaps one of the 717 services to CNS could continue to TSV?
We're losing BOM next year (very sad, only real QF flight). Still have DPS every other day, and JQ to SIN.
I wish QF would restart the DRW-SIN route. Do it in a 737, I don't care. Just get rid of JQ! It's almost worth flying the 4 hours south to SYD just to fly back over Darwin to get a real QF flight.