26-Jun-2014 9:42 AM

QantasLink says Moree, Armidale and Lord Howe Island 'unsuitable' for Q400 service

QantasLink CEO John Gissing, in a submission to Australia's Regional Aviation Services Inquiry, clarified (23-Jun-2014) Moree, Armidale and Lord Howe Island would be unsuitable for service upon retirement of the airline’s 36-seat Bombardier Dash 8-200 fleet. Mr Gissing said "passenger numbers do not currently support a Q400 service" at Armidale and Moree and that airport works would be required to accommodate the aircraft. QantasLink will retain two Dash 8-200 aircraft until 2018 to operate Sydney-Lord Howe Island, as per a Transport for NSW contract, but Mr Gissing noted he is “still going through [the] process” with the Lord Howe Island board about future operations. Mr Gissing said the airport requires an “environmentally sensitive” runway extension to handle the Q400, which would impact “the sand dune at one end of the runway or the lagoon at the other end, or both.” According to the CAPA Fleet Database, the airline operates five Dash 8-200s, 16 Dash 8-300s and 30 Dash 8-Q400s. As previously reported by CAPA, Mr Gissing said a “number of smaller towns” in New South Wales would no longer be suitable for service once the airline transitions to all Dash 8-Q400 aircraft. [more - original PR]

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