New Adelaide-Townsville connection takes off

September 13, 2021

Townsville Airport has celebrated its first new interstate route in almost a decade with a direct Adelaide-Townsville service touching down today – delivering more than 30,000 additional seats between the destinations annually.

QantasLink has commenced the only direct service between the two cities, saving travellers more than two hours on a return journey, and meaning they no longer need to go via Brisbane or Sydney.

Flights will operate three times a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with one-way fares now on sale from $179 one way.

The service will make it easier for friends and family in both North Queensland and South Australia to reconnect, and dozens of reunions are expected at the airport in coming days and months.

Townsville Airport General Manager Brendan Cook said the service opened up a new market for North Queensland tourism operators and made travel more affordable and convenient for locals holidaying and visiting family in South Australia.

“It is really exciting to celebrate the start of a new route – particularly as other interstate markets remain closed,” he said.

“Queensland and South Australia remain open to each other, and we expect lots of family reunions via this service between now and Christmas.

“We celebrated in the terminal today with a themed cake and terminal decorations, giving the first passengers a warm North Queensland welcome.”

QantasLink CEO John Gissing said with no other airline currently operating between the two cities, the flights will save more than two hours in travel time on a round trip instead of flying via other cities.

“We know that Australians are eager to travel again, and these new flights open up a direct connection between Adelaide and Townsville just in time for the school holidays,” he said.  

“Adelaide has been very popular with travellers over the past year with its culture, entertainment and as a gateway to Australia’s world-famous wine regions.  

“These flights will help drive more visitors to Townsville which will help local businesses in their recovery from the impact of COVID.

“Our customers and frequent flyers will enjoy our premium service on these new flights, whether it is complimentary food and drinks, baggage or access to lounges in Adelaide and Townsville.”

The Adelaide service is the first of three new E190 aircraft routes through Townsville Airport announced by Qantas earlier this year, including Sydney and Melbourne services which are expected to commence after state borders re-open.

Mr Cook said the timing of the new service was a real positive, with Townsville Airport passenger numbers continuing to be significantly impacted by border closures.

About 57,000 passengers travelled through the terminal in August – or about 38 per cent of 2019 levels.

“While we are still being impacted by COVID-19 management measures, these new services are a real positive for North Queensland,” he said.

Mr Cook encouraged North Queenslanders to get vaccinated and for government to stick to the agreed timeline for borders staying open associated with 70-80 per cent vaccination levels.

“This is critical if travel is going to return to more normal levels,” he said.

Pre COVID-19, Townsville was the 11th busiest airport in Australia with 1.6 million passengers annually.