Qantas is planning to add another 14 aircraft to its fleet over the next 12 months to cater to a growing demand for travel from fly-in-fly-out mine workers.
The move comes amid the signing of a new contract between Rio Tinto Coal and independent airline Skytrans, which will see the company flying around 400 FIFO workers from the Sunshine Coast to Clermont in the Bowen Basin.
QantasLink executive manager Narendra Kumar told The Australian mining geared aviation was expected to grow 50 to 70 per cent over the next few years.
He said Qantas expected to rake in a “sizeable chunk of the market”.
He also said the company would consider assigning larger aircraft, such as the A320 or 737, to FIFO flights if there was sufficient demand.
According to The Daily Mercury the contract between Skytrans and Rio Tinto will start today, and other companies, including BHP Billiton, were considering using a similar service.
The new Clermont service will see four additional flights into the town each week, on top of the 8 to 9 that arrive from Brisbane.
The flights expand on an already busy FIFO service running into the Bowen Basin by such as Aergo and Regional Express.
Image: ABC Rural, Babs McHugh