- Friday 24 February 2012
Air New Zealand will begin scheduled passenger flights to and from Sunshine Coast Airport this winter, marking the first-ever international scheduled passenger flights in and out of the airport.
The services will be operated by Air New Zealand as part of its Trans Tasman alliance with Virgin Australia. Two flights a week to and from Auckland will commence on a seasonal trial, connecting seamlessly with the extensive domestic and international networks of Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand.
To celebrate the new service, Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia are offering a special introductory fare from Sunshine Coast to Auckland from AUD$149 per person one-way. The sale ends Friday 2 March and a code share alliance with Virgin Australia means passengers can book through either airline’s website.
"This is fantastic news," Acting Mayor Tim Dwyer said.
"With this announcement, the Sunshine Coast is, in one fell swoop, elevated from a regional economy to a serious player on the national and world stages.
"Not only will this flight connect the Coast with our biggest international market in New Zealand but also offers the opportunity to connect via Auckland to markets in the US and beyond. We are truly entering a whole new chapter for tourism and economic activity.
"And at $149 one-way, I’m already checking out New Zealand golf courses on the web."
Air New Zealand’s GM Australia Cam Wallace said he was delighted to see Air New Zealand begin a great working relationship with the Sunshine Coast.
"We’re looking forward to helping more Queenslanders make the trip across the ditch – whether they’re visiting friends and family or enjoying the New Zealand ski season. We’ll also be flying plenty of Kiwi tourists into the heart of the Sunshine Coast to enjoy some winter warmth," he said.
"While the initial season is 1 July to 18 September, if there’s enough demand we’ll look to make it a year-round service."
Air New Zealand’s new direct service between the Sunshine Coast and Auckland will operate twice a week on Tuesdays and Sundays utilising an A320 aircraft offering Air New Zealand’s popular ‘Seats to Suit’ fare structure. The inaugural flight will arrive on 1 July.
Tourism, Manufacturing and Small Business Minister Jan Jarratt has welcomed Air New Zealand to the Sunshine Coast, describing the new flights as a massive confidence boost for the region and an economic shot in the arm for local tourism operators.
"This is a red-letter day for tourism on the Sunshine Coast and it shows this region has well and truly come of age," Ms Jarratt said.
"With Air New Zealand’s decision to trial two scheduled direct flights a week starting midyear, the tourism industry and all those who support it have an incredible opportunity to grow their share of this important market and then some.
"New Zealand is the number one international market for the Sunshine Coast, accounting for 30% of its international visitors.
"It is estimated these seasonal flights will add another 50,000 new room nights and an expected $1.5million cash injection over the winter months. Connecting with American flights out of Auckland will also present opportunities for growth.
"Well done to Air New Zealand, Sunshine Coast Airport, Sunshine Coast Destination Limited and Tourism Queensland."