Local growth in domestic leisure and corporate air travel and the arrival of Rex Airlines as a competitor has triggered the opening of a new and direct Canberra-Darwin route for QantasLink, five days a week.
The service will begin on June 21 and initially operate for the peak holiday season through to October, with the option to extend should the direct route prove popular
To launch the service, promotional fares of $249 one-way are on sale until midnight on May 9, until sold out.
It's a route which Rex, which recently launched a $99 one-way fare from Sydney to Canberra using its Saab 340 turboprop aircraft, is unable to match - at least for now.
The Darwin flights will be under the banner of Alliance Airlines, an air charter operator which recently signed a three-year deal to service particular Qantas routes. The non-stop flight takes four hours and 35 minutes.
Alliance use the Brazilian-built Embraer E190 jets with 10 seats in business and 84 in economy, which provides for almost 1000 seats on the route each week.
The Embraer has a 4500km flying range, which is more than QantasLink's Boeing 717s. Qantas has a 19.9 per cent share of Alliance.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the E190 aircraft had enabled the airline to grow its network and was the perfect size for linking "smaller capital cities with regional ones".
"We're continuing to see really positive signs of sustained recovery and the increase in flying has huge flow on benefits, helping to boost tourism which is so vital to local economies and businesses around the country," Mr Joyce said.
Alliance also flies direct from Canberra to the Sunshine Coast.
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