Kiwi summer now just a local flight away
  • Friday 10 April 2015
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Air New Zealand and trans-Tasman alliance partner Virgin Australia have extended non-stop Auckland-Sunshine Coast seasonal services to provide Coast residents more opportunities to visit New Zealand this summer.

It will also give Kiwis an even wider choice of options for holiday flights to the Sunshine Coast.

The season adds capacity to the recently increased winter schedule from June 26 to October 25, 2015 by introducing a summer season from December 13, 2015 to February 28, 2016, increasing the total number of seats available into and out of Sunshine Coast Airport by 81% over the 2014 season.

Air New Zealand has operated flights since 2012 using its A320 aircraft. The service is part of its trans-Tasman alliance with Virgin Australia.

Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia had continued to show great confidence in the Auckland-Sunshine Coast route, building it to 76 return flights over the 2015/16 season.

“This commitment by Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia is terrific news for our tourism industry with New Zealanders now having even greater direct access to our Sunshine Coast and its outstanding range of accommodation options and tourist attractions,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“Direct flights eight months of the year, including over the highly popular Christmas-New Year break, shows great faith and confidence in our region and demonstrates the growing popularity of our airport.

“To date, inbound visitors from New Zealand have tended to dominate bookings for the service.

“The new extended season opens up a fantastic opportunity for Coast residents to holiday in New Zealand and expat Kiwis, who represent almost 5% of our population, to visit friends and family.

“With up to three flights per week on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday, now is the perfect time to book a getaway to New Zealand.

“These flights also offer locals the chance to conveniently fly from our local airport to Auckland and then connect with a range of Air New Zealand international destinations, including the airline’s new route to Buenos Aires, Argentina.”

Tourism, Sport & Major events Councillor Jason O’Pray said: “While the Aussie and Kiwi markets remain our focus, there is an opportunity to look towards Asian inbound markets for the Chinese New Year season in February 2016, combining a New Zealand holiday with a unique Australia’s Nature Coast (Fraser and Sunshine Coast) experience."

The announcement coincides with a major marketing campaign in New Zealand, an initiative of TEQ, Air New Zealand and Sunshine Coast Destination Ltd.

“The campaign, which includes TV, print and online advertising will culminate next week with a large outdoor promotion featuring giant sand-sculptures in Auckland’s city centre," Minister for Tourism and Major Events Kate Jones said.

“Ideally timed as the New Zealand winter chill sets in, the aim of the campaign is to capture the attention of New Zealanders, highlight Queensland’s enviable climate, the diversity of our tourism experiences and ease of access to the state.”

Sunshine Coast Destination Ltd CEO Simon Ambrose said the winter season had traditionally been popular with Kiwi visitors escaping the cold.  The extended season and extra seats would now provide an additional boost during the summer for our tourism industry.

“We welcome this exciting announcement by Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia. This is a testament to the strong marketing activity we are doing ‘across the ditch’ and our targeted campaigns are showing results,” Mr Ambrose said.

“New Zealand is the number one international market for the Sunshine Coast.

“The region welcomed more than 60,000 New Zealand visitors to the year ending September 2014, an 18.4% increase (compared to 2013).

“The timing of this announcement is ideal as Sunshine Coast Destination will launch the largest marketing campaign to date in New Zealand later this month.”

Book non-stop Sunshine Coast ßà Auckland flights at: www.airnewzealand.com.au.

The extended season has been supported through a successful long-term partnership between Sunshine Coast Council, Sunshine Coast Airport, Tourism and Events Queensland and Sunshine Coast Destination Ltd.