Australian flag carrier Qantas will consolidate its regional fleet of turboprop aircraft after signing an agreement for the purchase of 14 additional Dash 8-4000 (Q4000) aircraft. 

The mid-life aircraft will be brought in from the end of 2024 to replace 19 smaller Q2000 and Q3000 aircraft currently used in the company’s QantasLink fleet providing regional connections within Australia. 

CEO Vanessa Hudson said: “This investment ensures there will be ongoing reliable air services across many parts of regional Australia. 

“QantasLink turboprops carry more than 3.5 million customers to more than 50 destinations around regional Australia every year, and these next-generation aircraft allow us to improve the travel experience with a faster and more comfortable experience.” 

The company’s selection of the the Q4000 model means QantasLink will now operate a single model turboprop fleet of 45 planes, which the company claims will improve reliability by reducing operational complexities and costs. 

Additionally, the company said the planes would also reduce emissions for its regional fleet by producing less carbon per passenger than the Q3000s. 

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However, Hudson said that the planes may be an interim measure before true zero-emission aircraft are used for the services, she said: “We know sustainable travel is important for our customers. 

“These additional Q400s allow us to provide certainty to the regions over the next decade while we work with aircraft manufacturers and other suppliers on electric or battery powered aircraft that are the right size and range for our network.” 

Investment into the 14 78-passenger planes will be spread across FY25 and FY26 by Qantas, with A$3.7bn – A$3.9bn ($2.5bn – $2.6bn), the majority of the investment, to be spent in FY25. 

The acquisition continues the airline’s wider fleet renewal programme, which has also included orders for 787 Dreamliner jets from Boeing and A220s from Airbus for the Qantas flagship airline.