Qantas to Upgrade Regional Fleet With Dash 8 Q400 Aircraft

Two Qantas Qantaslink Dash 8 aircraft parked on the tarmac.
Photo Credit: Qantas Group

Qantas is solidifying its focus on regional Australia with a significant investment in its QantasLink Dash 8 turboprop fleet.

The national carrier announced plans to acquire 14 mid-life De Havilland Dash 8-400 (Q400) aircraft. At the same time, it will phase out 19 smaller Q200 and Q300 models.

This strategic move streamlines QantasLink’s turboprop operations, bringing the total number of Q400s to 45.

Passengers flying regional routes will benefit from faster travel times, as the Q400 boasts a 30% speed advantage over its predecessors. Additionally, the younger fleet enhances operational reliability.

A Streamlined Regional Fleet

This investment signifies a significant step towards streamlining QantasLink’s turboprop operations. With the addition of the new Dash 8 Q400s, the total number of these advanced aircraft in the fleet will rise to 45.

Passengers flying regional routes can expect a noticeable improvement in travel times. The Q400 boasts a 30% speed advantage over its predecessors.

This translates to quicker connections between regional hubs and major cities. Additionally, the younger fleet enhances operational reliability, minimizing potential delays and disruptions.

Efficiency Gains and Passenger Comfort

The consolidation into a single turboprop type offers significant advantages for QantasLink beyond just speed and reliability.

Streamlining maintenance procedures and operational processes associated with a single aircraft type translates to cost savings.

This allows QantasLink to operate more efficiently, ultimately benefiting both the airline and its passengers.

Importantly, there will be no change in overall turboprop capacity for QantasLink upon completion of the fleet renewal.

Passengers can expect the same level of service to their favorite regional destinations, delivered with a more modern and efficient fleet.

Qantas CEO Vanessa Hudson emphasized the airline’s dedication to regional communities. “This investment ensures ongoing reliable air services across many parts of regional Australia,” she stated.

Ms. Hudson further highlighted the critical role of turboprops in connecting over 3.5 million regional passengers annually to more than 50 destinations.

These next-generation Dash 8 Q400s elevate the travel experience with increased speed and comfort, ensuring a smoother journey for regional travelers.

Fuselage side view of Qantas Qantaslink Dash 8 aircraft.

Embracing Sustainable Operations

Qantas acknowledges the growing importance of sustainable travel. The Q400s offer a reduction in carbon emissions per passenger compared to the Q300s, making a positive contribution to the airline’s environmental efforts.

While these new aircraft provide stability and operational efficiency for the next decade, Qantas remains committed to exploring future possibilities.

Collaboration with manufacturers is ongoing to develop electric or battery-powered aircraft suitable for Qantas’ extensive regional network.

This turboprop investment aligns with Qantas Group’s broader fleet modernization efforts. QantasLink’s third Airbus A220 jet is due for delivery shortly, further demonstrating the airline’s commitment to providing a modern and efficient travel experience for all passengers.

The net investment is primarily spread across fiscal years 2025 and 2026, aligning with existing capital expenditure guidance.

Two Qantas Qantaslink Dash 8 aircraft parked on the tarmac.
Photo Credits: Qantas Group
Fuselage view of Qantas Qantaslink Dash 8 aircraft.

Qantas and Regional Australia

Qantas’ commitment to regional Australia extends far beyond simply upgrading its fleet. The airline actively supports regional communities through various initiatives, demonstrating its dedication to the social and economic well-being of these areas.

Here are a few key examples:

  • Regional Grants Program: This five-year program allocates $10 million to support regional community groups and projects that contribute positively to the development of regional Australia.
  • Resident Fares Program: Year-round discounts are offered to residents in 16 regional and remote towns, making air travel more accessible and fostering stronger connections between these communities and major cities.

The acquisition of the new Q400s signifies a significant investment in the future of regional travel for Qantas.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
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