Gladstone spared in new flight change, but services have reduced
RECENT changes to QantasLink's flight schedule across Central Queensland will have minimal impact on Gladstone travellers.
This week the flight provider announced an overall reduction in flights to its Rockhampton, Mackay and Bundaberg services to help reduce cancellations and delays.
Qantaslink chief operating officer Jenny Chamberlain said availability of aircraft and crew contributed to delays and cancellations in several regional Queensland ports.
While the recent schedule change does not include Gladstone, recent aviation data showed the number of flights out of the port city dropped by 19 per cent in the past 12 months.
The Australian Domestic Aviator Activity August report, the most recently published, showed there were 513 flights at the Gladstone Airport in August this year, compared to 633 the same month last year.
It also showed the number of travellers using the Gladstone Airport's QantasLink and Virgin Australia services dropped.
There was a 17.4 per cent decline in passenger numbers between January to August in 2017 compared to 2016.
QantasLink said despite fewer flights leaving some regional Queensland cities, capacity would remain the same with the larger 717 aircrafts servicing the areas.
"The issues include aircraft maintenance taking longer than expected and many of our reserve flight crew pilots being tied up with training one of the largest intakes of new pilots in our history," Ms Chamberlain said.
"With fewer reserve pilots, it means we're seeing an increased level of cancellations if several call in sick on any given day.
"These are temporary issues but we're very conscious of the impact of delays on our passengers.
"To improve overall reliability, we're making changes to our schedule that reduce the overall number of flights but instead use larger aircraft to maintain capacity."