In a major boost to connectivity across Northern Australia, Qantas will add two new routes from the top end to Far North Queensland next year – Darwin to Townsville and Darwin to Cairns.
The new routes follow Qantas’ announcement last week that the airline will temporarily operate its flagship Kangaroo route from Australia to London via Darwin when international flights resume next month, until at least April 2022.
Business and leisure travellers will be able to take advantage of new travel options from early next year with QantasLink operating three weekly return services on each route with the Embraer E190 regional jet aircraft. Darwin-Townsville flights will commence on 31 January and Darwin-Cairns flights on 29 March.
The E190s were introduced to QantasLink’s network in May as part of the airline’s agreement 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 including multiple new routes from Cairns, Darwin and Townsville.
QantasLink CEO John Gissing said the new flights would offer more direct options across northern Australia and reduce travel time for customers.
“Both Queensland and the Northern Territory have played a key role over Qantas’ 100 year history and we’re pleased to be creating stronger connections between these great parts of Australia with two new routes,” said Mr Gissing.
“As well as offering more options for business travellers who we know commute regularly between these cities, the flights will also make it easier for Australians to explore the world class destinations in the Territory and Far North Queensland.
“These routes will help more travellers discover the incredible Northern Territory, helping local businesses in their recovery from the impact of COVID. We’ll also be promoting the Territory to tourists from London and beyond when transiting passengers on our international flights have the option to visit Darwin down the track.
“Travellers will be able to earn and use points on these new flights and enjoy our premium service, whether it’s complimentary food and drinks, baggage or access to our lounges in Darwin, Townsville and Cairns.”
Northern Territory Minister for Health and Tourism Natasha Fyles said: “These new services from Qantas come on the back of the new direct flights between Darwin and London, and are indicative of Qantas’ confidence in the outlook for the Territory tourism sector in 2022.
“We anticipate a strong domestic tourism market next year and welcome this announcement.”
Special fares on both new routes are available from $199 one-way at qantas.com or through Travel Agents, until 16 October 2021, unless sold out prior.
The new Darwin-Cairns service will complement Jetstar’s up to six weekly flights on the route.