Posted on: 03 April 2019 by Chloe Greenbank
Qantas has launched a twice-weekly 737-800 service between Darwin International Airport and Uluru.
The new route, which started on 3 April, will operate on Wednesdays and Saturdays and will link the Northern Territory’s capital with one of Australia’s most iconic attractions – Uluru/Ayers Rock – with a commercial air service for the first time.
Commenting on the new service, Ian Kew, CEO of NT Airports, said: “The direct flights from Darwin to Uluru will give both locals and international tourists some extra options when planning their visit to the ‘Red Centre’. For many Territorians who have never visited Uluru, this is a great chance for them to tick it off their bucket list.”
Targeting a new market
The service is the only flight from the Qantas Group that offers a full domestic service, including business class between the two Northern Territory hubs. What’s more the faster routing for international visitors from Asia and Europe will improve connection options for time-poor travellers, as the distance from Singapore is between 41% and 78% shorter if their entry/ exit point is via Darwin.
“Darwin International Airport is delighted to have partnered with Qantas and Tourism NT to see the capital directly linked with Uluru for the first time. We look forward to working closely with Qantas to bring new services to Darwin International Airport in the future,” added Kew.
While the majority of international travellers visiting Uluru arrive by air, only 3% currently travel via the Northern Territory capital of Darwin. Most access the popular natural landmark via Sydney or Melbourne. The connection via Darwin represents the target market for the new service, especially as a recent announcement by Jetstar Asia revealed the low-cost Asian carrier would be increasing its service from Singapore to Darwin to daily between 16 April and 22 July.
“We’re seeing more demand for travel to Uluru from international and interstate tourists than we have seen in a long time,” said Qantas Domestic CEO, Andrew David. “In the past few years the Qantas Group has added new routes and more flights to Uluru from Brisbane and Sydney, and now from Adelaide and Darwin. The new direct flights offer a convenient new option from Adelaide and Darwin, saving travellers up to five hours’ time instead of travelling on flights via other cities,” he continued.
David also underlined that the Australian carrier is committed to working alongside airports, as well as tourism bodies, hotels and tour operators, to “get behind these routes” and to continue “driving demand, not just to Uluru, but across all parts of the Territory.”