QantasLink’s first upgraded turboprop aircraft will today take to the skies with a refreshed cabin and greater comfort for the airline’s regional customers.
The upgraded Q300 turboprop was unveiled this morning at QantasLink’s hangar facility at Tamworth Airport, the airline’s hub for regional aircraft maintenance. The program to upgrade the fleet of 45 Bombardier Q200, Q300 and Q400 aircraft is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
Passengers onboard flight QF2003 from Tamworth to Sydney will be the first QantasLink customers to fly on the upgraded turboprop.
The fleet upgrade is part of a multi-million dollar commitment to providing regional passengers with a better overall travel experience.
The improved turboprop experience includes new ergonomic seat cushioning, leather upholstery, tablet device holders, a refreshed colour palette of greys and charcoals and new floor coverings.
Each turboprop aircraft takes around 10 days to upgrade, with up to 13 engineers and project support staff working on each aircraft. The work is timed to coincide with scheduled maintenance and closely aligns the turboprop interiors with those in the QantasLink jet fleet.
QantasLink CEO John Gissing said the airline was excited to unveil the airline’s first upgraded turboprop in Tamworth.
“Our turboprop aircraft are a significant part of our network and we’re committed to investing in product and service for regional Australia,” said Mr Gissing.
“We look forward to welcoming our regional travellers onboard our upgraded turboprop aircraft and offering them a better inflight experience.”
The investment in the turboprop upgrade program coincides with other regional initiatives, including the Qantas Group Pilot Academy expected to open in regional Australia in 2019, and follows the release of a study highlighting the Qantas Group contribution to regional Australia.
Tamworth was last week announced as one of the nine regional centres shortlisted as a possible home to the Pilot Academy. It is expected the Academy will employ more than 40 people in training and support roles, and partner with local businesses and suppliers to support key administrative and catering functions, providing new opportunities to drive economic activity in regional Australia from 2019. A final decision on the Academy’s location is expected to be made in the third quarter of this year.
The first Q300 to be upgraded was repainted with the airline’s updated Kangaroo logo and is named ‘Birdsville’ as part of an initiative promoting destinations around regional Australia.