Qantas Expands Embraer E190 Fleet, Destinations

Embraer E190
Embraer E195 jet. Photo: Embraer.

Qantas will add new direct flights from Adelaide to Gold Coast, and Darwin to Canberra, as it adds an extra five Embraer E190 jets to its fleet. This brings the total number of E190s leased by Qantas to eight.

Qantas announced earlier this year it would wet lease Embraer E190 regional aircraft from Alliance Airlines for at least the next three years. These aircraft will be operated by Alliance Airlines on behalf of Qantas, and will be painted in QantasLink colours. The aircraft will be based in Adelaide and Darwin.

The first Qantas E190 routes, operated by Alliance Airlines, will be between Adelaide, Alice Springs and Darwin. These flights will commence from 25 May 2021.

The Embraer E190s have around half as many seats as Qantas’ Boeing 737-800 jets. They also have a larger range than QantasLink’s slightly larger Boeing 717s, being capable of flying for up to five hours.

This makes the Embraer regional jets ideal for connecting regional centres with smaller capital cities. They also allow Qantas to operate two flights per day on routes like Adelaide-Darwin, instead of the current single daily flight, while continuing to offer a similar number of total seats. This gives customers a greater choice of flight times.

New Canberra-Darwin, Adelaide-Gold Coast routes

From 25 June 2021, Qantas will commence direct Adelaide-Gold Coast flights four times per week using Embraer E190s operated by Alliance Airlines. The frequency on this route will increase to daily during peak school holiday periods. The schedule on this route is as follows:

  • QF1966 Adelaide 07:00 – Gold Coast 09:50
  • QF1967 Gold Coast 10:30 – Adelaide 12:40

Qantas says that a number of additional E190 routes from Adelaide will be announced in the coming weeks.

5x weekly Darwin-Canberra flights will commence on 21 June 2021, with this schedule:

  • QF1983 Darwin 12:30 – Canberra 17:15
  • QF1984 Canberra 18:00 – Darwin 22:05

Qantas briefly ran direct flights between Canberra and Darwin in 2010, operating three times per week with Boeing 737-800s. But the 737s were too large for this route, and the service was short-lived.

About the QantasLink Embraer E190

The Qantas E190 services, operated by Alliance Airlines, will have 10 Business class seats and 84 Economy seats. Business class is in a 1-2 configuration, while Economy has a comfortable 2-2 layout. This means every passenger gets either a window or an aisle seat. The cabin is also more spacious than a Dash 8, which also has a 2-2 seating layout, and the Economy seat pitch is 31 inches.

To give you an idea, this is a seat map from Expert Flyer:

Seat map for a Qantas E190 flight.

Put simply, it should be a comfortable ride. However, there is no wifi, in-flight entertainment or power outlets available on board. So, at 4 hours and 35 minutes, a flight like Canberra-Darwin could feel quite long if you don’t bring your own entertainment!

Embraer E2 jet interior
Embraer’s E190 jets have a comfortable 2-2 seating layout in Economy. Photo: Embraer.

This AFF thread contains discussion about the Alliance E190s: Qantas to wet-lease E190s from Alliance

Qantas owns 19.9% of Alliance Airlines

Qantas acquired a 19.9% stake in Alliance Airlines a few years ago – a move which drew the ire of the ACCC.

Alliance Airlines also operates flights on behalf of Virgin Australia (e.g. from Brisbane to Gladstone, Emerald and Alice Springs) using Fokker 70 and Fokker 100 jets. In addition, Alliance has its own scheduled passenger and charter flights.

Alliance Airlines Fokker 100
Alliance Airlines operates many Fokker jets. Photo: Alliance Airlines.

Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Qantas announces major ADL capacity increase and new routes


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

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