Travellers in the Northern Territory can now take advantage of a direct connection to the Australian Capital Territory with QantasLink’s new Darwin-Canberra flights launching today.
The first flight connecting the two cities in nine years departs Darwin today, marked by celebrations for customers at the departure gate.
QantasLink will offer up to five weekly return flights operated by the Embraer E190 regional jet aircraft, delivering almost 1,000 seats on the route each week.
The E190 aircraft type made its debut on the QantasLink network last month as part of the airline’s deal with Alliance Airlines. With its size, range and economics, the 94-seat jet has opened up a number of new routes that wouldn’t have been viable with Qantas’ existing fleet.
QantasLink CEO John Gissing said the response from customers had already exceeded expectations.
“We’ve seen strong demand from travellers in both Darwin and Canberra since the route first went on sale last month,” said Mr Gissing.
“With no other airline currently operating on the route, the direct flights will save business and leisure travellers more than two hours travel time on a round trip instead of flying via other capital cities.
“More visitors to Darwin will be great for the Northern Territory economy with flow on benefits for local businesses in their recovery from the impact of COVID.
“These flights also provide travellers from regional New South Wales with a convenient gateway to the Northern Territory and they’re launching just in time for a holiday during the colder winter months.”
The new route is the latest in a number of recent capacity increases for the Darwin market with more frequent flights and larger aircraft operating in response to strong demand. For the peak travel season from July through to September, capacity is up 120 per cent on Melbourne-Darwin compared to pre-COVID. Sydney, Perth and Adelaide to Darwin are all up by 60 per cent over the same period.
The Darwin-Canberra service is one of the 45 routes that the Qantas Group has announced or launched since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Qantas’ Fly Flexible policy offers customers who book flights before 31 July 2021 added flexibility with unlimited fee free date changes when travelling before 28 February 2022. (A fare difference may apply).