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Qantas withdraws from Nhulunbuy as Airnorth steps in

written by WOFA | June 19, 2014
Airnorth says it will commence Darwin-Nhulunbuy-Cairns services from August 18.
Airnorth will commence daily Darwin-Nhulunbuy-Cairns services from August 18. (Rob Finlayson)

Qantas will withdraw its services to Nhulunbuy in eastern Arnhem Land from August 17 due to “decreased travel demand” following mining giant Rio Tinto’s decision to close its Alcan refinery at Gove.

QantasLink chief executive John Gissing told the NT News that: “The decision was not taken lightly, but after a thorough review of the route, it was found to not be viable to continue operating. This coincides with the closure of the Rio Tinto aluminium refinery.”

Local carrier Airnorth has stepped in the breach by saying it will commence a daily Darwin-Nhulunbuy-Cairns service using 76-seat Embraer E-170s from August 18.



  • Gayle leverett


    Very poor no community consultation re timetable most people out of Gove have other sectors to fly now people are being forced to stay overnight in cairns as the air north flight has a 1 and 1/2 hr turn around in cairns. I find this very poor it is a lucrative deal for air north who have shown no consideration to people in Gove with not a drop of consultation. Why is qantas flying direct cairns to Darwin and not cairns Gove Darwin just one plane what about consultation oh dear me yes that’s right it was all about mining Rio and and money!!!

  • Matthew


    There was no obligation for Air North to even take up the route. It could quite easily have been replaced by small turboprop aircraft instead of jets.

  • Alan


    Hi Gayle,

    I’m booked to fly with Airnorth and connect with Qantas service to Melbourne. Same thing on the way back. I think this schedule is excellent compared to Qantas’s. We spend less time on the ground in Cairns! Is there something that I missed? If anything it is Airnorth that should be thanked for continuing to provide a service rather than make us travel via another port.

  • Rodney Marinkovic


    A ways will be business, just if declining numbers of pasanger, use smaller aircraft. Any anther problem easy to make deal with new carrier. Where is good will, there is good solution. All ways.
    Rod. Mrinkovic, AME. Sydney /// Kraljevo-Serbia.

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