North QLD Cowboys flying into Bankstown Airport on an Alliance Airlines flight today ahead of their NRL game tonight against the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium. Picture: Jonathan Ng
North QLD Cowboys flying into Bankstown Airport on an Alliance Airlines flight today ahead of their NRL game tonight against the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium. Picture: Jonathan Ng

Airlines to cease CQ flights amid COVID-19 outbreak

VIRGIN Australian and Alliance Airlines flights between Rockhampton and Brisbane and Emerald and Brisbane will cease on Tuesday evening due to the impact of COVID-19.

In an ASX update this afternoon, Alliance Airlines, which has a base in Rockhampton, outlined the major service changes.

"In response to the unprecedented changes to domestic airline operations required by

Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments, Virgina Australia has approached Alliance Aviation Services Limited to request a suspension of services provided under the existing Wet Lease Agreement," the company said in the statement.

"VA has confirmed the last of the services to be operated prior to the suspension will be as of

close of operations on Tuesday, 24th March 2020."

Alliance Australia said services impacted would be from Brisbane to the following destinations:

• Alice Springs

• Cloncurry

• Emerald

• Mount Isa

• Port Moresby

• Rockhampton

 

Virgin's inaugural flight from Brisbane to Alice Springs, operated by its partner Alliance Airlines, landed on Tuesday at 1.05pm. Alice Springs 19 June 2018. Photo: EMMA MURRAY
Virgin's inaugural flight from Brisbane to Alice Springs, operated by its partner Alliance Airlines, landed on Tuesday at 1.05pm. Alice Springs 19 June 2018. Photo: EMMA MURRAY

The move comes after QantasLink last week announced network changes across Australia.

To cope with the COVID-19 outbreak, QantasLink has reduced return services between Brisbane and Rockhampton to 37 per week and Brisbane and Emerald to 21 per week.

Alliance Airlines went on to say that details of schedule changes affection currently booked passengers would be provided directly from Virgin Australia to its passengers.

"The impact of this suspension of services will be to reduce block hours by 4500 on an

annualised basis for the period of the suspension," they said.

"The terms relating to the suspension of the agreement are currently being negotiated between VA and Alliance.

"Alliance is currently reviewing the impact of this reduction on operational staff and where

appropriate the Company's various leave provisions will be enacted where it is determined

there are surplus staff."

Alliance Airline said given the requirements of the various governments on "Non-Essential Travel", continued operations of RPT services from Brisbane to Bundaberg, Gladstone and Port Macquarie would be reviewed in detail over the next few days and a further ASX announcement released once the Company has been provided with a clearer understanding of the requests of government.

"The Company owes its very existence to regional Australia and any decisions taken to

reduce services under the current circumstances will not be taken lightly," Alliance Airlines said.

"Given the changes and potential changes outlined above, Alliance will have additional fully

crewed capacity available to transfer across to its FIFO operations which operate nationally.

"This will be a combination of mainline routes connecting to FIFO flights and direct flights from major capital city airports.

"The Company is uniquely positioned, in that it owns all its aircraft which are operated to the

world leading standards required by the resource industry.

"Alliance is of the view that a significant proportion of the additional capacity available will be absorbed into FIFO operations as major resource companies move to social distancing on

existing flights.

"That policy requires more flights to be operated. Alliance is a proud, essential service that provides safe on-time travel of FIFO workers to and from Australia's large mining operations. "The continual operation of the Australian resource sector is vital for the Australian economy and will fund many of the Government (both Federal and States) initiatives."