Australian flag carrier Qantas announced plans to set up a new Embraer E190 jet base at Darwin Airport.

Qantas said that at least four E190s will be based in Darwin to service key QantasLink routes across Australia, as well as a new international passenger service from Darwin to Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste, or East Timor. 

The Embraer jets are being deployed on Qantas’ network as part of a three-year deal with Alliance Airlines to ramp up domestic flights and increase connections and schedules between smaller capital cities and regional centers.

Qantas said that basing the four aircraft in Darwin will bring an additional 90 jobs to the Northern Territory, including pilots, cabin crew and engineers recruited by Alliance Airlines.

The size and range of the E190 aircraft has opened up more flights on existing routes as well as new routes that would not have been viable with larger aircraft, including three new domestic routes from Darwin to Canberra, Cairns and Townsville.

In partnership with the Australian government, Qantas has been flying to Dili since February 2021, in order to maintain critical passenger and freight links with Timor-Leste. This service will now become a permanent commercial route with the E190 aircraft operating three flights per week, increasing to five flights each week from July 2022.

“The E190 is a fantastic aircraft and the new routes and frequencies they have supported means that Darwin is better positioned to take advantage of the comeback of domestic tourism and business travel,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said in a statement. 

“The E190 allows us to improve our schedule for Northern Territory travelers. When we first introduced the E190 on our Darwin to Adelaide flights, we were able to double the number of flights we offered each day, giving customers more choice about when they travel. We look forward to providing this flexibility across other new and existing routes.

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Qantas announced that it would expand its three-year deal with Alliance Airlines in order to add more Embraer E190 aircraft to its fleet.