The flag carrier airline of New Zealand, Air New Zealand, launched direct seasonal service between Auckland and the Sunshine Coast today, opening-up fresh opportunities for local residents and tourism businesses.
The direct services will fly till 27 October, operating four days a week: Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, departing Auckland at 09:15am and arriving at Sunshine Coast Airport at 11:15am. The return journey departs Sunshine Coast Airport at 12:40pm, arriving in Auckland at 5:40pm.
eTN Chatroom for Readers (join us)
Seasonal international services from Auckland began in 2012 when 5,734 passengers were carried throughout the season, a figure that has grown to 19,078 passengers in 2018.
Instead of having to travel to Brisbane, Sunshine Coast residents will able to fly out of their local airport to Auckland Airport and then connect with cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Chicago, Vancouver, Buenos Aires, Shanghai and – in New Zealand – Queenstown and Dunedin.
For local tourism operators, the new direct service enables equally seamless travel to Sunshine Coast Airport from major markets including USA, Canada, China and New Zealand.
Sunshine Coast Airport with its partners Visit Sunshine Coast and Tourism Noosa have been promoting the new service through a comprehensive “Sunshine by Lunchtime” marketing campaign highlighting that Kiwis can depart Auckland in the morning and be dipping their toes in the famed Sunshine Coast waters by lunchtime.
The promotion showcased the diverse range of activities available on the Sunshine Coast, including festivals and events such as The Curated Plate food festival in August, Queensland Garden Expo, Noosa Alive, Gympie Muster, Caloundra Music Festival, the Horizon Arts Festival and the Noosa Triathlon Multi Sport Festival.
Sunshine Coast Airport General Manager of Operations and Assets, Frank Mondello, said that direct flights from Auckland had been a great success for the Sunshine Coast over the past six years, with capacity levels only constrained by the existing runway.
“Flights have been operating at close to 80% capacity in recent years, and that’s about the maximum we can achieve because the existing runway restricts the passenger and freight loads the planes can carry,” said Mr Mondello.
“We are looking forward to increasing capacity following the launch of the new runway in 2020 because undoubtedly there is strong demand for the Sunshine Coast from across the Tasman. The latest International Visitor Survey showed growth of 5.9% from New Zealand travelers and with our enviable climate, our natural and adventure attractions, and extensive range of Festivals, we are confident of building the inbound market strongly in years to come.
“For local residents the new service will not only open up easy connections to prime destinations in New Zealand such as Queenstown, it enables them to book seamless on-travel to cities in the Americas without the inconvenience and cost of having to brave the Bruce Highway to Brisbane.”