In a sure sign that this is the season of goodwill, Qantas announced today it is relaunching its Regional Grants program. Not only is Australia’s flag carrier bringing the extremely popular program back, but it is also doubling the value to AU$10 million ($6.72 million) over five years, commencing in early 2023.
QF is supporting its roots
Photo: Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport
The Qantas Regional Grants program was introduced in that fateful year of 2019 but was then paused due to the pandemic’s impact on commercial aviation. The program drew more than 1,200 applications in its first year, with the funds distributed amongst 20 community groups from all states and territories of Australia. Having been founded more than 100 years ago in regional Australia, Qantas has strong roots in the communities that rely on it for connections to major urban centers.
QantasLink is the airline’s face of regional flying, and CEO John Gissing said the boost in funding will give the “much-needed support to regional Australia after a challenging few years.” He added:
“We know it’s been a tough few years for many parts of regional Australia, most recently with the huge flood events across New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. Doubling the funding for these grants means we’ll be able to reinvest more to support regional organizations who do so much for their local communities.”
The Qantas grants are open to Australian-based not-for-profit community groups, individuals, charities, projects and organizations that provide a direct service or benefit to regional Australia. Grants are decided by a panel of internal and external members and include flights, cash and marketing support.
Qantas is the largest regional airline in Australia, offering more than 50 regional destinations. Since the onset of COVID-19, it has launched 38 new regional routes, with QantasLink operating more than 2,000 weekly flights across the country. QantasLink, which also uses affiliate airlines, has a fleet of more than 100 regional and narrowbody aircraft at its disposal.
Current fleet data from ch-aviation.com shows the airline has 121 aircraft, with 110 in operation. The fleet is a mix of jet and turboprop aircraft and includes Airbus A320s, Boeing 717s, Fokker F100s and Bombardier Dash 8s. Looking into the operating jet fleet, QantasLink has 10 Airbus A320-200s, 19 Boeing 717-200s and 19 Embraer E190s.
A220s are on the way
As part of Qantas’ Project Sunrise and Project Winton fleet renewal, the airline ordered 20 Airbus A220-300s earlier this year to replace the Boeing 717s, which are more than 20 years old. The 717s, which came to Qantas after it acquired Australian regional carrier Impulse Airlines, are configured with and without business class seats. The two-class 717s have 12 business class and 98 economy seats, whereas the one-class version seats 125 passengers. The Airbus A320s also come in two cabin layouts, although both have 180 economy seats.
The Bombardier Dash 8s are a mix of types, which gives QantasLink the capability to match aircraft performance to the various types of regional and remote airports or airstrips it serves. The fleet includes 30 DHC-8-Q400s, 13 DHC-8-Q300s, one DHC-8-Q200s, two DHC-8-200s and one DHC-8-300. Adding more turboprop capacity and capabilities are the 15 Fokker F100s.
Among the 2019 recipients of the Qantas Regional Grants was Fair Game Australia, which collects and distributes pre-owned sports equipment and health and fitness education to remote communities. A second was Red Dust Role Models, a Northern Territory organization that works with Indigenous communities to create stronger futures for youth and their families. Applications for grants will open in February, and successful recipients will find out their fate in June 2023.
- IATA/ICAO Code:
- Airline Type:
- Full Service Carrier
- Brisbane Airport, Melbourne Airport, Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport
- Year Founded:
- Alan Joyce