Qantas, Jetstar to reduce frequencies from Darwin and Ayers Rock

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Qantas and Jetstar Airways will reduce the frequency of flights from the cities of Darwin and Ayers Rock, located in Australia's Northern Territory.

Qantas will halve its twice daily Ayers Rock-Cairns service to daily on 1 September. It will also reduce its four-times weekly Ayers Rock-Perth service on 1 September before suspending it on 28 October, says the Oneworld alliance member.

Starting 16 August, Jetstar Airways will reduce its Darwin-Sydney and Darwin-Denpasar services to daily and eight-times weekly respectively. It now operates 11-times weekly on each of the two routes.

Schedules in Innovata show Qantas operates Boeing 717s on the two routes, while Jetstar Airways uses Airbus A320 aircraft.

"The impact of the high Australian dollar on the inbound tourism market has also had a significant impact on the performance of these services," says Lyell Strambi, the chief executive of Qantas' domestic operations.

"We've previously flagged that routes from our Darwin base are among our most marginal, and while we understand the local community will be disappointed, our continuing ability to offer low fares to the broader market depends on our need to balance market demands with operational costs," says Jetstar's group chief operating officer David Koczkar.

As a result of the schedule change, Jetstar will relocate one of the four Airbus A320 aircraft based in Darwin to an unspecified location on the east coast of Australia.