Qantas Partners With Alliance Airlines for Capacity Deal to Target Domestic Growth Opportunities
Qantas has signed a three year deal with Alliance Airlines to access three Embraer E190s from mid-2021. Under the agreement, Alliance will provide the QantasLink network with flexible capacity, while providing Qantas Group crew the opportunity to fly the aircraft.
On Thursday (February 4, 2021), Qantas announced a new three-year capacity agreement with Alliance Airlines from mid-2021. Under the agreement, Alliance will provide capacity to QantasLink using their recently acquired 94-seat Embraer E190 aircraft, which offers the right range and size to better link regional centers with smaller capital cities. The new deal will allow Qantas to meet an unexpected surge in local tourism, while giving Qantas Group crewmembers the opportunity to fly the E190. The initial routes Alliance will fly include Adelaide-Alice Springs, Darwin-Alice Springs and Darwin-Adelaide, with the E190 providing the right economics compared with the Boeing 737s currently used on the routes. In Thursday’s announcement, QantasLink’s CEO, John Gissing, said,
“We know this current climate of snap border closures will pass and we want to be ready for the recovery and for what is a structurally different market to what we had pre-COVID. The ability to switch on extra capacity with Alliance will help us make the most of opportunities in a highly competitive environment and having the right aircraft on the right route helps us deliver the schedule and network that customers want. The E190 is a perfect mid-size regional jet for routes like these ones in northern Australia. It has longer range than our 717s and it’s about half the size of our 737s, which means the economics work well on longer flights between cities and towns outside of the top five population centres.
“Instead of one or two flights a day with a larger aircraft, we can offer three or four flights a day on the E190, which gives customers in these cities a lot more choice about when they travel. We’ve worked with Alliance for many years and they have flown literally thousands of flights for Qantas over that time, with the same service and standards that customers expect when they buy a Qantas ticket. By the time we switch on this extra capacity with Alliance, we expect all of our own domestic crews will have already returned to flying.
“The 737s that we currently use on these routes will move to other parts of our network. We’ve already opened up 20 new city pairs with our existing fleet as more people holiday at home, so there are a lot of possibilities once we get past this cycle of sudden border closures. Importantly, Alliance is keen to provide the opportunity for our international pilots and cabin crew to operate the E190s given it will be some time before overseas markets fully recover.”
The three-year deal will allow Qantas to access three E190s based in Darwin and Adelaide from mid-2021, when most of the carrier’s domestic flying returns to pre-pandemic levels. The agreement also includes flexibility allowing Qantas access to an additional eleven E190s, bringing the total to 14, as well as the ability to reduce capacity as indicated by market conditions. Alliance Airlines’ E190s, which were acquired from Copa Airlines last year, are configured with 10 Business and 84 Economy Class seats. Qantas has an equity stake in Alliance Airlines of just under 20 percent.