Sunshine Coast Airport has spread its wings to fly north for the first time ever, officially launching its inaugural Alliance Airlines service to Cairns today.
The new three-per-week service provides a key connection between two of Queensland’s high value tourist locations in line with the current push for domestic travel.
Sunshine Coast Airport CEO Andrew Brodie said the tropical northern destination had been highly requested by the Coast community.
“It’s a route that’s been long anticipated by local people and the strong passenger loads for the first flight certainly confirmed that,” Mr Brodie said.
“This service will also spare locals from making the long drive south to Brisbane to fly north, and will allow us to test the appetite for other regional routes on their wish list.
“It’s anticipated this service will facilitate around 40,000 passengers every year and inject $2.8 million of tourism spend into our region, undoubtedly some welcome relief for local operators.”
Tourism Minister Kate Jones said today’s announcement was a direct result of $15 million in funding from the Palaszczuk Government to secure direct flights to Queensland destinations and support the economic recovery of the tourism industry.
“Thanks to the way we’ve managed this health crisis, we can now start to focus on our economic recovery,” Ms Jones said.
“Tourism is crucial to rebuilding our economy and supporting local jobs. That’s why we’re backing new flights direct to the Sunshine Coast – to pump cash back into local businesses.
“This brand-new service between the Sunshine Coast and Cairns will feature 300 seats each way per week, will generate more than $2 million for local businesses and support up to 20 jobs.
“Already we’ve seen huge demand for this service which is a great sign for our tourism sector.
“Since flights went on sale on June 18, Alliance has sold more than 2800 tickets to date. This is a shot in the arm for both regions and will support thousands of local tourism businesses.”
Alliance Airlines Chief Executive Officer Lee Schofield said the airline was proud to help provide another important link in its regional network.
“Alliance is a proud Queensland based-airline with close ties to regional Queensland since its inception. This new route linking two of Queensland’s most beautiful regions further cements these ties,” Mr Schofield said.
“We also wish to acknowledge the support of the Queensland Government, Sunshine Coast and Cairns airports to help make these new services a reality.”
Visit Sunshine Coast Interim Chief Executive Office Craig Davidson and Tourism Noosa Chief Executive Officer Melanie Anderson said the service would provide a well-timed boost for domestic tourism to the Sunshine Coast and Noosa regions.
“The new flights are important for the tourism industry’s path to recovery and will provide an opportunity for more Queenslanders to visit the Sunshine Coast region,” Mr Davidson said.
“We are looking forward to welcoming our northern friends and we also encourage our own locals to support Queensland tourism and discover the Cairns and Port Douglas region,” Ms Anderson said.
Alliance Airlines fares start at $125 one-way including taxes. All fares are inclusive of 20kg free checked baggage. To book, visit AllianceAirlines.com.au.