Qantas to rejig Canberra flights with Boeing 717 business class

Qantas to rejig Canberra flights with Boeing 717 business class

Qantas is set to revamp its Canberra services in the later half of the year in a move that may not please all travellers.

Selected flights on the Sydney-Canberra, Brisbane-Canberra and Melbourne-Canberra routes will be downsized from the current Qantas Boeing 737 jets to smaller QantasLink Boeing 717 aircraft, allowing the larger 737s to be used on other higher-traffic routes.

Those 717s, which a Qantas spokesman advised are being leased from Boeing Capital, will come fitted with business class – a marked change from the 'all-economy' configuration of the regional airline's refitted Boeing 717s, which pack 125 economy seats form tip to tail.

Read: QantasLink debuts refurbished Boeing 717: slim seats, but more of them

Passengers in the pointy end will also enjoy "premium food and drinks", said QantasLink Executive Manager John Gissing, who added that the Boeing 717's "size and configuration (are) ideally suited to these routes."

Also on the agenda is inflight entertainment, which could take the shape of Qantas' Q Streaming system which beams movies and music wirelessly to iPads.

"We will also be providing individual in-flight entertainment for all customers - both Business and Economy - and are currently testing the latest technology" Gissing said.

Read: Video & review – Qantas' in-flight Q Streaming wireless iPad system in action

QantasLink's enhanced Boeing 717 services will take on Virgin Australia's upgraded Embraer E190 CapitalConnect fleet as both airlines work hard to woo politicians, public servants and lobbyists.

Read: Photos & review: Virgin Australia's new E190 business class

For the latest news for business travellers and frequent flyers, follow @AusBT on Twitter.

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

22 comments

  • ozFinn

    ozFinn

    16 May, 2013 10:38 am

    Probably the best thing they can do to compete against Virgins E190s and it will be interesting to see how the two compare once they come online.
    However I didn't think that there would be any factory fresh 717s left? I thought production on them stopped in 2006 or 07?

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  • madge

    madge

    16 May, 2013 10:47 am

    I guess they are "factory fresh" because they are being leased from Boeing directly?

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  • sdwylie

    sdwylie

    16 May, 2013 11:49 am

    I can't imagine Q streaming being very useful on a SYD-CBR flight - you'd probably get 20 minutes of viewing before you had to switch off prior to descent!

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  • Brett

    bm7500

    16 May, 2013 11:53 am

    I would have thought that ADL - CBR would have been an optimal route for the 717!

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  • highflyer

    highflyer

    16 May, 2013 11:54 am

    Does it matter when an aircraft comes out of production?  Normally its only the airframe that is the old part?  Maybe the engines, but that's usually been given the overhaul as well.   Exterior paint, and interior decor would all be new, and as far as the travelling public is concerned, its a new aircraft, as long as the proper money is spent to refurbish the aircraft.

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  • madge

    madge

    16 May, 2013 12:37 pm

    I agree, but the article originally stated these 717s were factory fresh, implying they're brand new. So the question was where QF found brand new 717s when production stopped a few years ago.

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  • JamesM

    JamesM

    16 May, 2013 12:40 pm

    I'm going to guess that Qantas called these 'new' B717s, which means new to their fleet but not 'new' in the sense that everybody else uses the word!

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  • Al Glidden

    AlG

    16 May, 2013 12:44 pm

    I take this as a clear sign that competition by Virgin Australia working and Qantas is hurting on the CBR routes. VA invested in E190s with business class, invested on a decent lounge, and QF is now looking to get back travellers they've lost to Virgin.

    That said it does seem strange because QF already has a Chairman's Lounge at CBR plus a good Qantas Business Lounge along with their Qantas Club, surely they would have a lot of the Canberra market stitched up already? Or maybe a lot of the public servants have to fly Virgin because of 'cheapest fare on the day' policy?

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  • StuParr

    StuParr

    21 May, 2013 01:59 pm

    I work part time with the Navy reserve and we have to take the cheapest Fare of the day and increasingly QBT searches are throwing up Virgin for at least one of the sectors.

    The old 737's are not that efficient so in order to match VA's lower cost base they are having to change the equipment they use on the CBR routes.

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  • JamesM

    JamesM

    16 May, 2013 12:49 pm

    I see the need for business class from Brisbane and Melbourne to Canberra, and even Sydney because so many politicians would want it, but surely all that is needed is more like premium economy on such short trips? Plus its not like you need any fancy food or drink from SYD to CBR, it's a half-hour flight!

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  • JamesM

    JamesM

    16 May, 2013 12:50 pm

    Not to mention IFE, who on earth will want to watch anything in the less than 30 minutes it takes to fly between Sydney and Canberra?? Really seems like this is a strange set of decisions from Qantas!

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  • Charles

    SteveCF

    16 May, 2013 01:06 pm

    Your right that some of the enhancements are overkill for a thirty minute flight, but kitting these aircraft like this allows them to transition these planes to longer but less volume demanding routes that would mahe IFE and the business product more appealing.

    In short, they have another aircraft at there disposal to fill gaps or open up different markets in the future.

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  • highflyer

    highflyer

    16 May, 2013 01:34 pm

    I agree with SCF.  Seeing that Adelaide already operates the 717 twice a week, it would seem like that would be a possible route to also include if demand in volume is less.  All in all, it can get rid of the 737-400's, that are slowly tiring out, and could introduce regional routes like they see out of Brisbane.

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  • mitchimus

    mitchimus

    16 May, 2013 01:51 pm

    it's going to be fun for those wanting to ensure a 'jet'. Presently if there is a 3 digit code it's a 'jet' and a 4 digit code a 'Dash'. This will add some fun with the 717 presumably using 4 digit codes as it is a Qantaslink flight.

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  • johnaboxall

    johnaboxall

    16 May, 2013 02:40 pm

    That's clever of the QF group. Now they have access to a basically-full service aircraft with a lower operational cost than their own jets. 

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  • David Flynn

    David

    16 May, 2013 02:44 pm

    FYI, Qantas has confirmed that these 'new' Boeing 717s will be under lease from Boeing Capital.

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  • ljd

    ljd

    16 May, 2013 03:25 pm

    I'm a bit confused. I didn't think Qantaslink operated 737s anyway... So wouldn't it be an upgrade from dash-8s?

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  • JamesM

    JamesM

    16 May, 2013 03:31 pm

    LJD, what this basically means is that QantasLink will take over some Qantas flights, so some Qantas flights on a 737 will become QantasLink on a 717.

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  • cell

    cell

    17 May, 2013 02:59 pm

    for all you guys who think this is a good move - it's not. I'm on the 737s to cbr at least 2-3 times a week, and would be pretty annoyed if i ended up on 717. The 737s are bad enough - even in business class - so, not sure how these things will go. And, can they make it down to Melb in the same time as the 737s can?

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  • undertheradar

    undertheradar
    Banned

    17 May, 2013 04:52 pm

    'cell' ..the published 'flight times' for 737 and DASH8s are the same so i'd say the 717 would be the same.. 1h 5-10mins up/back..that works about 30-45mins actual flying time!!! and you say that 737s are bad enough for that length of time??..i think its the shortest flight on the 'jet' network!!!

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  • Charles

    SteveCF

    18 May, 2013 03:46 pm

    The cruising speeds do vary I believe for these aircraft slightly however this doesn't overly effect flight times as aircraft have to work within operating slots at Airports which on busy domestic routes even flight times out somewhat.

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  • poptop

    poptop

    18 May, 2013 08:57 am

    About time these routes had a freshen up!

    I used to fly weekly to Canberra from Melbourne and it was always disappointing to board the well-worn 737-400s without a proper J class, ripped seats and grubby looking cabin.

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27 May, 2019 11:35 am

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