The key mining hub of Emerald in Queensland will see twice-daily weekday Virgin Australia flights from Brisbane from next January.
It looks like regional Queensland is the latest battleground between Qantas and Virgin, with Red Roo subsidiary QantasLink spruiking new services -- and a Qantas Regional Lounge -- to Emerald and other QLD airports from next year too.
Emerald is at the economic centre of the Bowen Basin, Australia's largest coal reserve, so its business travellers are a lucrative market.
That means passengers can potentially expect a fare war, extra lounge provision and the likelihood of further incentives from both airlines. Good news from the traveller's perspective.
So how do the flights and schedules stack up?
Virgin Australia's new ATR-72 turboprop planes, flown by Skywest in full Virgin colours, will carry 68 passengers on twice-daily returns along the 650km Brisbane-Emerald route from 16 January 2012.
Take an exclusive first look inside the ATR-72: leather slimline seats and a spacious cabin.
The route is already served by QantasLink, which runs similarly-sized Q300 and Q400 turboprops between five and seven times a day during the week (more on Mondays and Fridays) and six returns in total over the weekend.
Extra QantasLink flights on Wednesdays and Saturdays will be added in 2012.
Flying on one of Qantas' turboprops on the route? Don't miss our guide to the best seats on the plane.
About John Walton
Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.