Qantas has officially added Dili to its route map today with the first of the airline’s regular passenger flights taking off from Darwin, strengthening the ties between Australia and Timor-Leste.
Three return flights will operate each week with the dual class E190 aircraft, ramping up to five weekly return flights from July, boosting business, tourism and freight connections.
The E190 aircraft operate on Qantas’ network as part of an agreement with Alliance Airlines. The aircraft’s size, range and economics have opened up a number of routes from Darwin that wouldn’t be viable with larger aircraft.
Darwin-Dili is the national carrier’s first new ongoing international route from Darwin since 2008 and Qantas’ first international E190 route.
QantasLink Chief Operating Officer Petrea Bradford, who is in Darwin to travel on the inaugural flight, said that the national carrier’s new service would help strengthen the deep connection between Australia and Timor-Leste.
“We’re excited to be officially adding Dili to our route map today and helping to build the incredibly important links between Australia and one of our closest neighbours,” Ms Bradford said.
“After two years of closed borders, this new route is a key part of Qantas’ focus on rebuilding connectivity in the region for businesses, families and freight.
“Travellers from Timor-Leste will also be able to seamlessly transfer through Darwin to the Qantas Group’s extensive domestic and international network.
“Dili is just over an hour’s flight from Darwin and is a great destination for the adventurous traveller, with incredible natural beauty, unique cultural experiences and great coffee and cuisine.
“We look forward to working to promote Timor-Leste and all it has to offer to millions of our frequent flyers.”
During COVID, Qantas temporarily operated weekly flights between Darwin and Dili in partnership with the Australian Government to maintain critical passenger and freight links while international borders were closed.
The new ongoing passenger route follows the recently announced E190 base in Darwin that will create more than 90 new local aviation jobs and service key QantasLink routes from the NT capital across Australia. The Darwin-Dili flights follow two new domestic routes from Darwin taking off this week to Cairns and Townsville.
The Qantas Group operates 18 routes from Darwin, Alice Springs and Uluru, and non-stop options from Darwin to eight domestic destinations.