Qantas’ regional arm QantasLink will begin operating Airbus A320 aircraft from March 2018. Two aircraft will initially be acquired from Jetstar. Additional brand new aircraft originally destined for the Jetstar Asia fleet are also on the way.
The QantasLink A320s will be operated by Network Aviation, based in Perth. It is believed the aircraft will operate on regional routes within Western Australia, including FIFO operations to mining sites.
I guess this will cover the Ginbata, Solomon and Christmas Creek flights for Roy Hill and FMG and a few KTA, PHE and BME flights chucked in during the peak to replace some of the 737 services which would make sense.
For Qantas, there are a several advantages in flying A320s in QantasLink colours. One benefit is the lower cost base of QantasLink compared to Qantas mainline. This also enables Qantas to increase capacity on its WA routes, while freeing up a Boeing 737 for a second-daily Perth-Singapore flight.
It is not yet known whether the Jetstar cabin configuration of 180 Economy seats and a below-par 29 inches of seat pitch will be retained on the QantasLink A320s. Removing a row of seats would increase the legroom to Qantas’ usual standard, but a Business cabin is unlikely. Some of QantasLink’s existing Boeing 717 jets feature a Business class cabin, but these planes are not typically used on routes within Western Australia.
Sincerely hope Qantas will reconfigure the A320 from the Jetstar pitch and at least give people another inch to 737 standards. But will be interesting to see what config they run it in.
With more narrow body Airbus aircraft on order for the Qantas Group, some AFF members would like to see some A321 aircraft in the Qantas fleet. One member suggests that, with flat beds in Business class, these aircraft could be ideal for routes like Brisbane-Perth and Perth-Singapore.
Personally I’d like to see QF pick-up some 321neos (out of the Group order) – but with Business flat beds. Still probably 12/162 config so common with the 737s. These could be used for the red-eye to BNE/ADL from PER, and possibly the shorter Asian routes.
Virgin Australia Regional Airlines also operates two Airbus A320s based in Perth.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: QantasLink to operate A320