Less than a week after the first Alliance Airlines Embraer E190s began flying for QantasLink, five of the planes are now in the air. More Embraers are on the way, but right now, QantasLink has two of the Embraers based in Adelaide and three in Darwin. All five aircraft are working the Adelaide-Alice Springs-Darwin runs or variations of that run.
Two Embraers flying for QantasLink are based in Adelaide
A report in Australian Aviation on Monday flagged the five Embraers as VH-UYW, VH-UYZ, VH-UYY, VH-UYB, and VH-UYO.
After flying for Darwin’s Airnorth, VH-UYM jumped across to its new Adelaide home from Mildura on Friday, May 21. The plane cooled its engines on the ground for four days and, on May 25, began operating QantasLink services. Its first flight was a service to Alice Springs that afternoon.
Since then, the plane has been busy flying between Adelaide and Darwin. Most recently, on Monday, May 31, VH-UYM flew three QantasLink flights; QF1954 between Adelaide and Alice Springs, QF1959 between Alice Springs and Darwin, and QF1951 between Darwin and Adelaide.
VH-UYZ was also flying for Airnorth before Alliance Airlines shifted the plane to Qantas. Like VH-UYM, VH-UYZ began flying for Qantas out of Adelaide on May 25. VH-UYZ is also plying the routes between Adelaide and Darwin.
Most recently, on Sunday, May 30, VH-UYZ operated QF1956 between Adelaide and Alice Springs, QF1961 between Alice Springs and Darwin, and QF 1953 between Darwin and Adelaide.
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Three Embraers fly out of Darwin most mornings
VH-UYY breaks the pattern in that it is a Darwin-based Embraer. On May 24, the aircraft wrapped up its Airnorth flights with a service from Townsville to Darwin. The next day, VH-UYY started operating flights for QantasLink, replicating VH-UYM and VH-UYZ and flying routes between Darwin and Adelaide.
Interestingly, VH-UYY appears to have taken a small break from its Qantas duties, operating an Alliance Airlines flight (QQ990) between Darwin and Adelaide on Thursday, May 27.
VH-UYB follows a similar format. The Darwin-based Embraer is busy jetting between Adelaide and Darwin via Alice Springs. While previously flying Airnorth services, VH-UYB took a small break in between, operating some interesting routes under Alliance Airlines flight numbers for part of May. On May 20, VH-UYB ferried to Adelaide on a Brisbane-Tamworth-Orange-Mildura-Adelaide routing.
Since May 25, VH-UYB has operated QantasLink flights, most recently on Saturday, May 29, when the Embraer E190 flew the now-familiar north-south Central Australian routes.
On May 20, Alliance Airlines ferried the last of the five Embraers currently operating QantasLink services up to its new Darwin base. VH-UYO began flying QantasLink flights on May 25, kicking off with QF1958 down to Alice Springs.
Before lunchtime today, the aircraft has jetted down to Alice Springs operating QF1958 and onwards to Adelaide, operating as QF1955. VH-UYO is shortly to fly QF1950, the four-hour run back to Darwin.
More Embraers on the way for QantasLink
Qantas operates these flights under their QantasLink regional brand. Previously, Qantas ran Boeing 737-800s on these routes but now says the smaller Embraers are better suited. In swapping out the planes, they also ramped up frequencies. The Embraer services step up the Qantas product when flying the north-south Central Australian routes from that perspective.
More Embraers are coming to QantasLink, and eastern seaboard cities will soon start seeing services. Embraer flights between Adelaide and Townsville, Sydney and Townsville, Melbourne and Townsville, Adelaide and Hobart, and Adelaide and Cairns are on the radar. Many of these routes are already flown by Qantas’ wholly-owned low-cost subsidiary Jetstar, but it is the first time (or in some cases a welcome return) to the full-service Qantas offering.