Qantas will fly its regional QantasLink Boeing 717 jets between Brisbane and both Adelaide and Cairns from November, in place of larger Boeing 737-800s.
The plan adds to new weekend Boeing 717 flights from the Queensland capital to Sydney and Melbourne which began this month, following the use of these planes on regular Brisbane-Canberra flights.
Qantas says the shake-up puts “the right aircraft on the right routes” in line with passenger demand, and will free up a Boeing 737 for use on higher-demand routes such as Sydney-Melbourne and Perth-Adelaide.
The Boeing 717 earmarked for these Brisbane flights will offer both business class and economy, with the airline reconfiguring two of its remaining economy-only jets – currently seen flying within Western Australia – with business class (below) and new economy seats, for use on the eastern seaboard.
With the first reconfigured plane flying from November, the second is expected to take wing in January 2018, which the airline will use to support its existing Boeing 717 flight schedule while heavy maintenance is undertaken on other jets.
Qantas will offer business class on 12 of its 20 Boeing 717s once these reconfiguration works are complete, and will increase the use of economy-only Fokker 100 aircraft on regional, resources-related Western Australian routes where the airline now sees lower demand.