Qantas cuts WA services
Route changes: Passengers disembark from a Qantas flight at Karratha. Picture: The West Australian

Qantas is to scrap services from the east coast to Karratha and Kalgoorlie while reducing some intrastate flights as demand for domestic travel softens.

Qantas confirmed yesterday that from July 1 its four weekly services from Brisbane (1), Melbourne (1) and Sydney (2) to Karratha would be axed and its twice-weekly services from Adelaide to Kalgoorlie also cancelled.

A Qantas spokesman said the services were being cut because of "poor uptake".

The airline is also looking at making changes to intrastate services within WA. Some flights may be cancelled while others downsized.

Qantas announced last week that in response to a softening market it would freeze capacity growth in the first three months of the new financial year. In April, Qantas experienced a 6.7 per cent slump in domestic passenger numbers.

Qantas and Virgin Australia have been locked in a costly capacity war for the past two years.

While the airline may not cancel flights it will likely down gauge aircraft types on non-peak services.

Qantas says this will maintain its “significant overall frequency and network advantage over our competitor which is key for corporate customers.”

“We retain flexibility to resume growth depending on market factors,” a spokesman said.

But Qantas emphasised that the airline is “not shrinking” but “merely pausing capacity growth.”

One of the ways Qantas will reduce its costs is to use its Perth-based unit Network Aviation to fly regular public transport routes.

This week the Civil Aviation safety Authority approved Network, Qantas’s FIFO charter arm to operate standard passenger flights.

Network is to operate three flights a week with 100-seat Fokker 100s on the Perth-Learmonth route replacing 125-seat 717s.

In turn those 717s will replace 162-seat 737-800s on other routes were traffic is light.

The West Australian

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