Qantas Airways’ regional domestic arm QantasLink has unveiled network cuts as a result of a pilot shortage that has also hit competitor Regional Express (Rex).

QantasLink says in a statement that it is making “further schedule changes on its Queensland and New South Wales routes due to the higher than normal pilot attrition rate”.

It says it will be temporarily suspending services on some routes and the schedule changes are expected to be in place until at least July.

Australia’s domestic market has been growing rapidly in part as a result of new competition and several airlines have been suffering from severe pilot shortages. Rex, for example, has unveiled several route cuts in recent weeks as a result of a pilot shortage.

QantasLink says in its statement that it is working to train more pilots and these measures should help “to restore pilot numbers over the next few months”.

“We have received over 500 applications for a new QantasLink pilot trainee programme and the first graduates from this programme are expected to start flying for QantasLink by the end of June,” it adds.

The network changes will see QantasLink suspending its six weekly Newcastle-Sydney services, which follows the recent suspension of Newcastle-Brisbane and Newcastle-Melbourne services. Qantas’ low-cost arm Jetstar still offers services between Newcastle and both Brisbane and Melbourne, however.

QantasLink will also suspend two of its 24 Hervey Bay-Brisbane services as well as a daily Brisbane-Mackay service, although it will retain one daily Brisbane-Mackay service and Jetstar will still have three flights per day on the route.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news