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A Qantas Airbus A330 approaches Sydney Airport with the city skyline in the background (Photo: Hisham Qadri | AirlineGeeks)

Qantas Adds New Routes From Australian Capital

Lengthy border closures and strict entry requirements continue to hinder international travel across the world. However, airlines continue finding different ways to keep aircraft in service and generate more revenue to remain sustainable. Qantas officially announced three additional new routes from Canberra, Australia as part of its domestic network expansion.

The Sydney-based carrier plans to operate three weekly flights to Sunshine Coast, Australia starting on Nov. 19, while flights to Cairns, Australia inaugurate on Nov. 21, operating twice a week. The prominent Oneworld carrier will also operate three weekly flights to Hobart, Australia on Dec. 4, and the airline plans to utilize Boeing 717s on the three new routes.

“With international borders still closed, Australians are more inspired than ever to explore places in their own backyard. We’ve taken a fresh look at our network, creating new direct services, which were previously only available by connecting via another city, saving customers up to two hours of travel time,” Qantas Domestic & International CEO Andrew David said. “These flights are great news for travelers who will now have more direct flights between Canberra and Cairns, Noosa and Hobart. It will also mean we can get more of our people back to work.”

While international borders have not seen the ease of restrictions, local state and territory borders are slowly beginning to reopen. Consequently, Qantas’s future new routes follow a string of other new flights featured in its domestic flight expansion and reinstatement.

Obstacles With Project Sunrise

In late 2019, Qantas began laying the groundwork for its comprehensive research project called Project Sunrise. The carrier challenged both of the world’s major aircraft manufacturers — Airbus and Boeing —  to build an aircraft capable of serving three ultra-long-haul routes. 

Qantas’s ultimate goal was operating its prospective ultra-long-haul flights efficiently: Brisbane to Paris, Melbourne to New York and London to Sydney. However, the effects of COVID-19 hit the airline, forcing it to suspend its entire international network. 

According to Simply Flying, the airline announced that Project Sunrise was indefinitely deferred in May. However, Qantas has the opportunity to allocate its resources towards its domestic network. The carrier will be able to use its extensive fleet of Boeing 717s, 737s and Airbus A320s to sustain its operations and support its new flights to meet current travel demand.

Qantas’s Project Sunrise, once completed, will be one of the airline’s most significant achievements of its century-long history. Project Sunrise could create major impacts within the air travel industry, allowing passengers to travel more comfortably on ultra-long-haul flights. For now, however, Qantas will have to navigate COVID-19 and observe how its domestic route expansion and reinstatement will affect the airline’s future until international travel resumes.

Benjamin Pham
Benjamin Pham
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