Qantas will more than double the number of flights between Adelaide and Kangaroo Island after a decision by Regional Express to withdraw from the route.

The airline will now run 12 return flights each week, an increase on the existing five.

“Now is the time to be supporting Kangaroo Island, not deserting it,” QantasLink chief executive John Gissing said on Friday.

“What Kangaroo Island needs over the months and years ahead is for tourists to come back and a reliable air service is vital for that to occur.”

Regional Express, or Rex, blamed “capacity dumping” by Qantas for making its Adelaide to Kangaroo Island services unviable.

The row between the two carriers came after the island was recently devastated by major bushfires which burnt through more than 210,000 hectares.