Survey results prove the talk is true
  • Saturday 23 July 2011

It is becoming increasingly evident that there is overwhelming demand for Sunshine Coast Airport to provide flights north to Mackay, Cairns and Townsville.

That’s the just one of the stand out findings from the preliminary results of the current 2011 Traveller Survey, which has received feedback from more than 800 participants to date.

"There is also overwhelming demand for business-friendly flights departing the coast before 7am and which return between 5pm and 7pm," Sunshine Coast Airport General Manager, Peter Pallot, said.

"One of the main messages from these preliminary figures is the demand that exists to introduce flights to mining-oriented destinations, and a large percentage of this demand appears to come from fly in-fly out workers who are Sunshine Coast residents. In fact of the people surveyed who are flying for business/work, the mining sector is currently leading by a longshot.

Economic Development councillor Lew Brennan also understands the broader benefits that will be experienced by the region, by opening up the Sunshine Coast as a support base for the mining industry.

"Flights and services that would allow Coast residents to gain employment in the burgeoning industry, without having to move from the Coast, is currently one of our highest priorities," he said.

"This has enormous potential economic benefit for the region, ensuring they invest in the region and their earnings are largely spent back here on the Sunshine Coast.

"There are also numerous specialist support businesses based here including tradespeople, consultants and engineering, construction and manufacturing firms. By creating direct access to these major mining regions Sunshine Coast businesses will be better positioned to tap into the opportunities, creating flow on employment opportunities for the region and allowing us to share in the benefits of the resources boom."

The online survey, which continues until July 29, allows the opportunity for participants to provide feedback on existing services, but to also express their interest in flights to Australian and New Zealand destinations, other than what is already on offer.

Preliminary figures are based on 824 voluntary responses up to Sunday, 17 July, and a report containing findings from the full survey will underpin the business cases that are developed and presented to the airlines, as part of the airport’s ongoing route development strategy.

"The nature of the survey is public and unskewed; rather than being targeted exclusively at an existing database, or approaching a random sample of the catchment area. It has allowed an opportunity for all those who currently use the airport, and importantly those who we are losing to other airports, to come forward and have their say," Mr Pallot said.

"All participants have willingly sought out the survey and completed it. Data captured in this way ensures its integrity."

Mr Pallot is encouraging more travellers to visit the airport’s website and complete the survey.

"It would be wonderful to reach 1000 responses, given how important and informative the feedback is to how we plan future services," he said.