The Sunshine Coast will be connected to the New Zealand market through year-round direct flights between Auckland and Sunshine Coast Airport, following support from the Queensland government.
Queensland Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said that the direct flights had been secured as part of the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan, and will take effect after the already-scheduled winter seasonal service – that begins once trans-Tasman travel resumes and ends on 30 October.
The winter seasonal flights will fly on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.
Sunshine Coast Airport Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Brodie, said the announcement of a year-round service was a strong vote of confidence in the region.
“The announcement delivers on a long-held ambition to secure Air New Zealand flights to Auckland year-round, and our new, internationally capable runway will allow the service to operate without weight restrictions,” Mr Brodie said.
To support the launch of the direct flights, Visit Sunshine Coast (VSC), Tourism Noosa (TN) and the Sunshine Coast Airport (SCA) are launching an integrated multi-media campaign, in partnership with Air New Zealand, to attract Kiwis across the ‘ditch’ to experience a warmer winter on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
The campaign will be encouraging Kiwis to fly direct to the Sunshine Coast to arrive by lunchtime and experience all the region has to offer as they lap up the mid-20C temperatures typical of the region over ‘winter’ – when it is safe to do so again.
The Air New Zealand campaign highlights the fact that New Zealand travellers can depart Auckland in the morning and be dipping their toes in the famed Sunshine Coast waters by lunchtime. It also showcases the many activities, from dining to adventure, on offer across the region from Caloundra and Mooloolaba to Noosa and the hinterland.
Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Matt Stoeckel said prior to the pandemic, New Zealand was the region’s number one international market with 84,000 annual visitors, 650,000 room nights, and an economic value of $110 million.
“The recommencement of our Auckland service provides an incredible opportunity to grow our important Kiwi market. Not only are they our largest international market, but they also travel to the region when we need them the most and are a great fit for our nature-based experiences and laid-back lifestyle,” said Mr Stoeckel.
The New Zealand government has put a pause on quarantine free travel from all Australian states and territories will be paused until 21.59 pm (AEST) on Tuesday, June 29.
Chief Customer and Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty say the airline understands how challenging these disruptions are for customers.
“This is a fluid and uncertain time as Governments on both sides of the Tasman work to keep their communities safe. We feel for all of our customers, many of whom have already been waiting a long time to reunite with family and friends. We appreciate our customers’ understanding and patience as our teams work to ensure they are kept up to date.”
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