BREAKING: Bundy flights axed into new year
QANTAS is planning to cut the number of flights in and out of the Rum City in what it says is a push to reduce last-minute service cancellations.
The reduced number of flights will remain in place until late March next year.
Qantas has now announced changes to its Qantaslink schedule and is hoping the adjustments will improve overall reliability.
QantasLink chief operating officer Jenny Chamberlain said a combination of factors led to issues with availability of aircraft and crew, and that had resulted in cancellations and delays in parts of the regional network.
"Because our network is interconnected, this has had a knock-on effect to several ports including Bundaberg,” she said.
"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.
"With fewer reserve pilots, it means we're seeing an increased level of cancellations if several call in sick on any given day.”
Ms Chamberlain said the issues were temporary and she was conscious of the impact of delays on the passengers.
In an effort to resolve the issue, Bundaberg residents will see more Q400 aircraft replacing Q300 aircraft on services that survive the planned cuts, adding more than 20 seats on every flight.
"We expect these changes to remain in place until late March 2018,” she said.
"Customers whose flights are impacted by the schedule changes will be contacted directly to let them know about a revised departure time.”
The news during a bumpy year for Bundaberg travellers with airlines hitting turbulence in more than one way.
On October 4, the sudden cancellation of a Qantas flight from Bundaberg to Brisbane left passengers out of pocket and scrambling to organise other travel arrangements.
At the time, a Qantas spokesman told the NewsMail disruption to the network was the reason why aircraft and crew were out of position to operate Bundaberg services.
The airline offered a four-hour bus ride as a replacement for the cancelled flight.
Virgin Airlines also departed Bundy this year, but its daily service to Brisbane was replaced by Alliances Airlines.
The flying public has also had to contend with a series of cancellations and delays, caused by a variety of factors.