What's with all the red-eyes ex DRW?

Mattg

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Currently looking at Qantas flights from Darwin to the east coast (BNE/SYD/MEL) and most of the options given on the Qantas website now are flights departing between 1-2am. There are also a few day flights departing in the afternoon, but these are a lot more expensive on the dates I'm looking at.

I understand that back-of-the-clock flying is better for aircraft utilisation, but does anyone really want to fly at 1.30am? I'll most likely book with Virgin instead and fly at a reasonable time for a lower price...
 
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henrus

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I understand that back-of-the-clock flying is better for aircraft utilisation, but does anyone really want to fly at 1.30am? I'll most likely book with Virgin instead and fly at a reasonable time for a lower price...
If you don't give people a choice then they have to take the time you give them. Many years ago Qantas would typically operate 2x flights from DRW to SYD/MEL/BNE. One at 1am and the other at 2pm. (in fact this is the 2003 timetable here, along the top you can access different years).

Given they're stretching the fleet right now it makes sense to put on these 1am flights for fleet utilisation and as you say if you want to fly at a normal time then you've got to pay more.
 

Mattg

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If you don't give people a choice then they have to take the time you give them.

True, although people do have a choice... not to fly to Darwin, or to fly Virgin instead ;)

I do recall that pre-covid, Qantas had a daily DRW-SYD redeye (in addition to the daytime service) and a DRW-BNE redeye a few times per week. But there seems to be even more DRW-BNE redeyes now than before, and they hadn't run a DRW-MEL redeye for many years.
 

levelnine

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Are they possibly being put on to ferry people home who are in quarantine in Howard Springs? I read reports of some quarantine facilities unhelpfully releasing people at midnight at the end of their 14th day. Perhaps Howard Springs is one of them?
 

henrus

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They are possibly being put on to ferry people home who are in quarantine in Howard Springs. I read reports of some quarantine facilities unhelpfully releasing people at midnight at the end of their 14th day. Perhaps Howard Springs is one of them?
The NT releases people at midday so I highly doubt that would be the case.

A bit off topic but those who do enter the NT on one of those Qantas repat flights gets a code that entitles them to discounted flights from the NT to any other Qantas destination. I'd love to know how much this discount actually is.

Screen Shot 2021-04-28 at 2.49.41 pm.png

This links to this page - https://www.qantas.com/travel/airlines/pfs-r-qantas-flight-domestic-australia/au/en

Where you have to enter a DFAT code to book.
 

Scr77

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True, although people do have a choice... not to fly to Darwin, or to fly Virgin instead ;)

Our family is stuck on one of these stupid o’clock flights in the July school holidays. Virgins only direct flight is within 30mins of Qantas.

2 months ago, Qantas July schedule was only flying direct Mel-Drw every second day! I thought winter was peak season.
 

henrus

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No lounge though...
Although how much are you saving on QF vs VA?

The appeal of domestic lounges has practically disappeared given the shocking "food", wifi that's slower than 4G/5G, and busyness. The only benefit I see is a slightly more comfortable seat (although airports are spending a lot more on public gate areas these days) and the drinks (the biggest problem is still the airport surcharge which isn't too bad but don't get me started on Changi).

At Darwin, there is a reasonable bar almost opposite the lounge area which was quite comfortable and reasonable. The other coffee shop also has nice views out over the runway (something that is confusingly rare in Darwin).

The problem of the airport surcharge is slowly being fixed as well. At Brisbane airport, in June 2021 Newstead Brewing Co will open a "taproom and eatery" in the domestic terminal, early press releases suggested prices would be similar to their other venues around Brisbane. Canberra airport kind of has this with Capital Brewing that has similar prices to the main location.
 

aikman

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I flew on one of these earlier this month. I took an Uber from my hotel at midnight. The driver was surprised that I was going to the airport. "There are flights leaving at this time???"

The QF lounge was very quiet. Food and beverage was all self serve. It was so good being able to get my own softdrink and not have to ask someone for it.

photo.jpg
 
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Hvr

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Not many government employees flying at the moment may affect the frequency of daytime flights.
 

Captain Halliday

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Currently looking at Qantas flights from Darwin to the east coast (BNE/SYD/MEL) and most of the options given on the Qantas website now are flights departing between 1-2am. There are also a few day flights departing in the afternoon, but these are a lot more expensive on the dates I'm looking at.

I understand that back-of-the-clock flying is better for aircraft utilisation, but does anyone really want to fly at 1.30am? I'll most likely book with Virgin instead and fly at a reasonable time for a lower price...
They're freight flights. At least, they used to be.

QF was generally operating one flight per day BNE-DRW-BNE using the 767 up to 2014. They added a 738 for around four months during the dry season.

This was in addition to the daily (or near daily) 737F operated by Toll.

When QF dropped the 767 they went to twice daily in the 738, accepting self loading freight for some additional revenue.

*This was the scenario 3 years ago, so it may be a very different revenue and load proposition these days.
 

henrus

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The QF lounge was very quiet. Food and beverage was all self serve. It was so good being able to get my own softdrink and not have to ask someone for it.
The NT seems to be one of the few places that haven't banned buffets. I was shocked when I flew up there around the middle of last year to see a full buffet at the hotel.
 

RooFlyer

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The NT seems to be one of the few places that haven't banned buffets. I was shocked when I flew up there around the middle of last year to see a full buffet at the hotel.

Hotel buffets still common down here in Tas. For a while they went 'point and we will plate it for you', but now regular self-serve buffets.
 

henrus

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Wonder how long till these are on ozbargain
The DFAT codes have been around since the start of the QF repat flights. I don't think you'll find any shared because the code is tied to an individual and gives them the ability to book the flight into AU (something they're all fighting for).
 

jakeseven7

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Given they're stretching the fleet right now it makes sense to put on these 1am flights for fleet utilisation and as you say if you want to fly at a normal time then you've got to pay more.

Will be interesting to see where they put the 737's that are freed up from the E190's coming online for the SA-NT routes shortly.

Maybe Darwin will get some more love..... who knows.

I've heard rumours QF will enter MEL-Byron - at the moment that is only served by the LCC's and plenty of premium passengers to scoop up there I would think.
 

docjames

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Historically the number of red-eyes was due to a combination of
- mail/freight revenue (it needed to travel overnight for delivery purposes so aircraft had to travel then anyway / revenue supported ++ by freight)
- leisure traffic - fare premium required to take aircraft off eg. revenue per hour of utilisation when deployed to DRW was less than could be earnt with multi-leg east coast flying (unless there was large daytime fare premium - which holidaymakers didn’t want to pay) - some of the daytime flying was eventually supported by ADF/government contract flying (ie. less price sensitive)
- aircraft utilisation outside bulk east coast hours meant cheaper fares meant full aircraft with pax and freight
- it’s still a relatively small market in the scheme of things, so could run eg. one BNE-DRW on a 767 or 330 say 10 or 11am departure which allowed connection from SYD or MEL meaning no need to run one ex-Syd or ex-Mel
- there also used to be the “milk run” ADL-ASP-DRW vv
 

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