Qantaslink is clearly circling the wagons in regional routes to fend off the marauding Virgins and their own turbo-prop expansion plans as they move closer to getting full ownership and control of Skywest.
The latest installment is a major play by Qantas for increased frequency and capacity using larger versions of the Dash 8 turbo-prop fleet on routes between Sydney and Tamworth, Dubbo, Coffs Harbour and Armidale.
There will also be a new much needed Qantas frequent flyer lounge at Tamworth.
These are the key points:
The announcement was accompanied by frankly useless endorsements from NSW deputy premier, Andrew Stoner, since both he and his premier would be well aware of the repeated warnings from Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, and just about everyone else in the airline game, that the state must stop talking cr*p about Sydney airport and do something meaningful and immediate to get more airport capacity into the Sydney basin.
If Mr Stoner’s government’s policy setting on this is taken on its face value, he would expect new Tamworth travellers to fly over Sydney to Canberra to catch a non-existent fast train to get to the harbour city.
So long as the NSW government persists with such rubbish its credibility on airport issues is zero.
On the broader competitive canvas, Qantaslink is taking prudent strategic steps to defend its dominance in regional NSW aviation against the expansionary plans of Virgin Australia, not to mention Tiger starting A320 flights between Coffs Harbour and Sydney.