Qantas says it will use larger aircraft and outsource some flights to Alliance Airlines as it blames frequent cancellations and delays on its Mount Isa routes to a “combination of factors” which have led to issues with availability of aircraft and crew.
Several planes into and out of Mount Isa and Cloncurry have been cancelled recently including most recently last Friday afternoon’s plane from Brisbane to Mount Isa.
The North West Star had requested an interview with the local regional manager to discuss this and other issues but instead received a media statement.
Qantas said the issues included aircraft maintenance taking longer than expected and reserve flight crew pilots tied up with training a large intake of new pilots but they were taking “proactive steps” to improve reliability by adjusting the network and schedule.
“These changes reduce the overall number of flights on some routes, and instead use larger aircraft to maintain capacity,” the airline said.
“Alliance Airlines (will) operate some flights on behalf of QantasLink over the coming months, including for QantasLink flights between Mount Isa and Brisbane (with their F100 aircraft).”
Qantas said this would free up their 717 aircraft to improve its ability to quickly provide recovery for any services which may face delays or cancellation.
RELATED NEWS:Qantas suffer a day of delays
Qantas said this would be a temporary arrangement to start from December 4 and was expected to last until until March 2018.
The media release quoted QantasLink Chief Operating Officer Jenny Chamberlain who admitted their standard of service had been “disappointing”.
“The higher rates of cancellations and delays we’ve seen recently in some parts of our network is disappointing and falls well below the standards we set for ourselves and our customers,” Ms Chamberlain said.
“Improving the reliability of our network is being given the highest priority. The steps we’re taking include network and schedule adjustments and having spare aircraft on the ground to ensure we can recover quickly at times when unplanned cancellations do arise.”
The North West Star has also asked Qantas for more information about its fare pricing and why regional travellers pay a premium in comparison to capital city routes.
Qantas have promised to respond to our queries and we have also requested clarification on whether the reduction on overall flights would directly affect North West Queensland routes.
UPDATE: 9.25am Qantas have responded to that last query saying: “No changes to frequencies for these (NWQ) routes.”