SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — Qantas will ramp up the number of E190s it wet leases from Alliance Airlines, adding four more aircraft to its fleet. 

This move brings the total of leased Embraer regional jets in operation by the airline to 22, with options for an additional eight yet to be exercised.

In mid-2021, Qantas started making use of Alliance's Embraers, assigning them to domestic routes too lean for frequent B737-800 services. Qantas kicked off with a wet lease of three E190s, gradually escalating that count to 18, and now 22. Just last week, Qantas announced plans to launch E190 flights between Brisbane and both Huron and Wellington. The Australian national airline owns a 19.9% share in Alliance Airlines. Nonetheless, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) recently blocked a proposed deal for Qantas to take over a 100% stake in Alliance Airlines.

According to a May 19 filing with the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), "The aircraft have been retrofitted for extended range operations known as Extended Diversion Time Operations (EDTO). Six aircraft were reconfigured for EDTO operations by Alliance prior to their service entry, and Alliance has maintained CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) EDTO approval since July 2022, with all flight crew and engineering training completed by that date."

Currently, Qantas' wet leased Embraers are used for scheduled services between several routes, including Adelaide and Alice Springs, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Newcastle Williamtown, and Townsville; Alice Springs and Darwin; Brisbane and Cairns, Townsville, Canberra, and Mackay; Cairns and Darwin; Darwin and Dili; Melbourne Tullamarine and Townsville; and Sydney Kingsford Smith and Townsville.

In a separate announcement this week, the Qantas Group forecasted an underlying pre-tax profit of between AUD 2.425 billion (USD 1.61 billion) and AUD 2.475 billion (USD 1.65 billion) for the 12 months ending June 30, 2023. The airline also revealed that Doug Parker, former CEO and chairman of American Airlines, will be joining the Qantas board effective immediately.