It took two years of work and a committed partnership between Sunshine Coast Airport, Sunshine Coast Destination Limited, Auckland Airport, and of course Air New Zealand.
And yesterday, the fruits of that partnership flew into Sunshine Coast Airport carrying the first-ever cabin-full of New Zealanders seeking winter refuge and a wonderful holiday experience non-stop to the Sunshine Coast.
“The Sunshine Coast is, in one fell swoop, elevated from a regional economy to a serious player on the international stage,” he said.
“New Zealand is the number one international tourism market for the Sunshine Coast, accounting for 30% of our international visitors. It is estimated these seasonal flights will add another 50,000 new room nights and a huge cash injection for the region.
“Our region offers a natural advantage as a safe and clean destination with the added bonus of a warmer climate for our Kiwi friends with this seasonal service running over the winter months.
“This begins a new era for our regional airport with the first-ever international scheduled passenger flight to the Sunshine Coast,” Mayor Mark Jamieson said.
“Sunshine Coast Airport, its wellbeing and its expansion are a cornerstone project for this region as we strive to secure its economic sustainability. This new flight spells a game-changer in terms of our tourism, our trading and our self-confidence as a region.
“I congratulate the wonderful partnership which has brought this about and look forward to the success of this seasonal service –as Air New Zealand promotes it across the Ditch, so too will we encourage our local population to visit the excellent ski fields of our close friends and neighbours.”
Air New Zealand’s General Manager Australia, Cam Wallace, travelled on the inaugural service which is part of the trans-Tasman alliance between Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia.