QantasLink is a regional airline and a wholly owned subsidiary of the Australian flag carrier, Qantas. Founded in 1995, QantasLink provides air services to over 54 destinations in Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific region. It is the largest regional airline in Australia and one of the largest in the world.
QantasLink began in 1995 as a joint venture between Qantas and the government of Queensland. The airline was created to provide air services to regional areas of Queensland, including the cities of Townsville, Mount Isa, and Cairns. At the time, Qantas was the only major airline operating in the region, and the creation of QantasLink enabled it to expand its services.
Initially, QantasLink operated a fleet of 10 aircraft, including four Boeing 737-300s, four Fokker F-50s, and two de Havilland Dash 8-200s. Over the years, the fleet has grown to include more than 50 aircraft, including Boeing 717s, 737-800s, and Airbus A320s.
QantasLink has had a number of important milestones throughout its history. In 1997, the airline began its first international services, with flights to New Zealand. In 1998, it began operating from Brisbane International Airport, becoming the first regional airline to do so. In 2003, QantasLink became the first Australian regional airline to offer in-flight entertainment on its aircraft. In 2006, the airline launched its first international service to Fiji.
In 2010, QantasLink underwent a major expansion, adding 12 new routes to its network. In 2011, the airline launched a new premium service, called “QantasLink Plus”, which offered passengers more luxurious and comfortable seating, larger baggage allowance, and complimentary meals and drinks.
Despite the successes and milestones, QantasLink has also had its share of incidents and challenges. In 2008, a QantasLink Dash 8-400 aircraft crashed in Northern Queensland, resulting in the death of all 15 passengers and crew. The incident was investigated by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, and the findings revealed that the crash was due to a mechanical failure.
In 2013, QantasLink was the subject of a federal investigation after it was accused of unfair dismissal of a pilot. The investigation concluded that the dismissal was not in accordance with the applicable industrial agreement, and the airline was found to have breached the agreement. As a result, the airline was forced to pay a substantial fine.
Overall, QantasLink has come a long way since its inception in 1995. From a small regional carrier to a major international airline, it has established itself as the largest regional airline in Australia. It has also adapted to the changing market conditions, expanding its fleet and launching new services to meet the needs of its customers. Despite the occasional incident, QantasLink remains a major player in the aviation industry.