Qantas, Jetstar to reduce flights to and from Darwin
THERE will be fewer direct flights to and from Darwin on Jetstar and Qantas from March.
The bad news comes just two weeks after Tiger ended its flights to Darwin and has been greeted with serious concern by the peak body representing the Northern Territory business community.
The NT News can reveal Jetstar will reduce on average one return flight per week between Darwin and Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Cairns during off-peak periods. Qantas will cancel some overnight Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane flights to and from Darwin.
Neither airline is cancelling any routes.
Qantas and Jetstar said they are making adjustments across the domestic network to better match capacity with demand.
"We are making minor adjustments on some of our higher frequency routes to better match the demand we are seeing," a Jetstar spokesman said.
"Customers will be re-accommodated on the next available flight."
The cancellations, which are predominantly Jetstar flights, are in "non-peak periods", including the shoulder.
Chamber of Commerce NT deputy chief executive Brian O'Gallagher said the loss of the services was a blow for NT business, particularly those in the tourism industry.
"Anything that makes it harder to get to Darwin is not good for business and this clearly is going to reduce the options of getting to Darwin," Mr O'Gallagher said.
"The cuts are very concerning because of the impact it may have on tourists in their decision making, particularly at a time when we are struggling to get tourists here.
"We all know that most tourists are budget conscious and cost and time taken to get from one destination to another is a big factor when deciding on their destination."
Acting Tourism Minister Eva Lawler said reliable and affordable air services were critical for Territorians.
"The tourism industry is facing challenges over coming months, which is why we have moved quickly to roll out a $2 million Immediate Tourism Resilience Plan to support local businesses during this difficult time," Ms Lawler said.