Shares in Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) are nose-diving today despite the company not releasing any price-sensitive news. At the time of writing, the Qantas share price is $4.67 – 3.81% less than its previous closing price.
For comparison, the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) is down 1.77% today.
While Qantas hasn’t released any news to the ASX today, it has announced yet another benefit from its newly expanded agreement with Alliance Airlines. Let’s take a look.
Qantas has launched a new service allowing almost 1000 passengers per week to travel directly between Canberra and Darwin.
The service will take advantage of the E190 jets provided to QantasLink through Qantas’ deal with Alliance Airlines. The expanded agreement has seen QantasLink making use of 4 more aircraft that can each seat 94 passengers.
QantasLink is now flying return between Canberra and Darwin up to 5 times each week.
According to Qantas, it’s the first time in 9 years that the capitals will be directly linked by air.
The airline introduced this latest boost to Darwin services in response to strong demand.
Qantas is operating more frequent flights and flying larger aircraft to Darwin from other Australian capital cities, particularly for the tropical city’s peak tourism season which runs from July to September.
According to Qantas, it’s increased its passenger capacity for flights between Melbourne to Darwin by 120% compared to what it was before COVID-19 hit Australia. Return flights from Sydney, Perth, and Adelaide to Darwin have also increased their capacities by 60% since the pandemic hit.
Commentary from management
QantasLink’s CEO John Gissing commented on the new routes, saying:
With no other airline currently operating on the route, the direct flights will save business and leisure travellers more than two hours travel time on a round trip instead of flying via other capital cities.
More visitors to Darwin will be great for the Northern Territory economy with flow on benefits for local businesses in their recovery from the impact of COVID.
These flights also provide travellers from regional New South Wales with a convenient gateway to the Northern Territory and they’re launching just in time for a holiday during the colder winter months.
Qantas share price snapshot
2021 hasn’t been a great year so far for the Qantas share price.
Currently, shares in Qantas have fallen by 4.89% year to date. However, they have gained 11.46% since this time last year.
The airline has a market capitalisation of around $9.5 billion, with approximately 1.8 billion shares outstanding.