Qantas is launching direct flights from Brisbane to the Whitsunday Coast for the first time in seven years.
From 17 September 2021, QantasLink will operate up to seven weekly return flights between Whitsunday Coast Airport (WCA) and Brisbane with its 74-seat Q400 turboprop aircraft, adding more than 1,000 seats on the route each week.
The new service will complement Jetstar flights to the Whitsunday Coast from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
Between Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar, the group has now launched more than 45 new routes since international borders closed, around half of which are into Queensland.
Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox said it had been a dream of his to lure the flying kangaroo back to WCA and offer more choice for the corporate and premium leisure market.
“WCA is stamping itself as one of the fastest-growing regional airports in Australia, and these new flights will be launched in time for the September school holidays creating an extra 50,000 plus seats annually,” he said.
“The business and tourism sector has done it tough during the COVID-19 pandemic, so it is great to see that our council-owned airport is leading from the front to support our region’s recovery.
“It is fantastic to be able to welcome our national carrier Qantas to the Whitsunday Coast Airport, and the new deal puts us on target to smash the 500,000 annual passenger number record barrier.”
QantasLink CEO John Gissing said the new service makes it easier for Australians to experience the world-famous beaches of the Whitsunday region and access the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef.
“COVID has also meant we’ve seen demand for travel within the Sunshine State soar in the past year,” he said.
“Our flights from Brisbane to places such as Cairns and Townsville have been incredibly popular, so we expect this new route to the Whitsunday Coast will appeal to the many Queenslanders looking to holiday in their own state.
“These new flights also open up the Whitsunday Coast to Qantas customers across the country who will be able to seamlessly connect through Brisbane from our extensive domestic network.
“More visitors will be great for the local economy, with flow-on benefits for local businesses in their recovery from the impact of COVID.”
The airline has also begun receiving NDC-sourced content to pilot travel sellers to test booking through the Amadeus Travel Platform.
These select travel agents can shop, book, and pay for NDC offers sourced from the Qantas Distribution Platform (QDP).
This includes ancillary services not available via EDIFACT, special price offers, and fully integrated post-booking servicing like cancelling and refunding an NDC booking.
The Amadeus Travel Platform is based on fully-open systems, with the broadest range of global travel content available now.
Javier Laforgue, executive vice president of airlines distribution at Amadeus, said it will allow travel sellers and travel buyers to easily access unique offers from Qantas.
“Qantas has long been a close partner of ours, and this milestone ensures that we will continue working alongside the carrier on modern retailing capabilities,” he said.
“We will continue to be an industry leader by delivering the performance, scalability and market reach that airlines and travel sellers need as the travel industry rebuilds.”
In 2018, the airline joined Amadeus’ NDC [X] program to make NDC content available in the Amadeus Travel Platform via the Qantas Distribution Platform.
The two companies have worked since then to make this a reality and bring the benefits of NDC to Amadeus’ global travel seller network.