NZ Boost: Qantas Upgrades its Wellington to Brisbane Capacity

Aerial view of approach to Wellington Airport
Photo Credit: Wellington Airport

Qantas recently announced a significant upgrade to its Wellington – Brisbane service, transitioning from an E-190 aircraft to a larger B738 aircraft starting from October this year.

This upgrade is poised to add an additional 35,000 seats annually between the two cities, signifying a substantial boost in capacity and connectivity.

Significance of the Upgrade

The decision by Qantas to upgrade its aircraft on the Wellington – Brisbane route holds significant implications for both travelers and the aviation industry.

With the introduction of the larger B738 aircraft, Qantas aims to meet the growing demand for travel between Wellington and Brisbane, providing passengers with enhanced comfort and convenience.

Wellington Airport’s Response

The announcement of the aircraft upgrade has been warmly received by Wellington Airport, with CEO Matt Clarke expressing confidence in trans-Tasman travel.

Clarke emphasized the swift up-gauge as a testament to the robust demand for the route and reaffirmed Qantas’s position as Wellington’s leading international airline.

Qantas’s Position in Wellington

Qantas’s decision to upgrade its aircraft underscores its dominant presence in Wellington’s aviation landscape.

With 28 return flights per week across the Tasman, Qantas solidifies its status as the primary carrier, surpassing competitors in both seat capacity and flight frequency.

Qantas Boeing 737 VH-VZO in flight.
Bahnfrend, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Flight Frequency and Seat Capacity

The increased capacity on the Wellington – Brisbane route heralds positive outcomes for travelers, tourism, and businesses alike.

The additional seats facilitate greater accessibility, fostering economic growth and strengthening ties between the two cities.

Qantas’s upgrade translates to a significant boost in both flight frequency and total seating capacity.

With an anticipated total of 485,000 seats per annum, representing a 30% increase from pre-Covid levels, travelers can expect more options and flexibility in their travel plans.

Changes in Flight Timings

Alongside the aircraft upgrade, Qantas will adjust the arrival and departure timings for flights from Wellington.

The revised timings, slated for 3:40pm and 4:45pm respectively, aim to optimize scheduling and streamline travel experiences for passengers.

A Qantas Boeing 737-800 touches down.
Robert Frola (GFDL or GFDL), via Wikimedia Commons
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Wellington Airport and Australian Connectivity

Wellington International Airport, also known as Rongotai Airport, is an international airport located in the suburb of Rongotai, 8 kilometers southeast of Wellington city center.

It is the third busiest airport in New Zealand after Auckland and Christchurch, handling over 3.4 million passengers annually.

The airport serves as a hub for Air New Zealand, Sounds Air, Jetconnect, Air Nelson, and Mount Cook Airline.

It offers direct flights to 19 domestic destinations and several international destinations, including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Fiji, and the Gold Coast.

Wellington Airport plays a moderately important role in connecting New Zealand to Australia, particularly compared to Auckland Airport. Here’s a breakdown of its significance:


  • Direct flights: Wellington offers direct flights to several major Australian cities. This includes Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, facilitating travel between the two countries.
  • Convenience: Located in the capital city, it provides a convenient option for travelers based in or near Wellington. Travelers can reach Australia directly without needing to connect through Auckland.


  • Frequency: Compared to Auckland, Wellington offers significantly fewer flights to Australia. The limiting travel options and often result in higher prices due to lower competition.
  • Limited destinations: Unlike Auckland which connects to numerous Australian cities, Wellington only links to a handful. This restricts the choice for travelers.


While Wellington Airport provides a valuable direct connection between New Zealand and Australia, its role is overshadowed by Auckland Airport in terms of overall importance due to the latter’s:

  • Higher frequency of flights
  • Wider range of destinations
  • Stronger role as a major hub

Notably, Wellington Airport still serves as a valuable option for those specifically departing from or arriving in the capital city.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
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