First Sunny Coast flights a ‘great win’ for Cairns tourism
THE first direct flights between the Sunshine Coast and Cairns are expected to bring up to 40,000 passengers a year to the Far North.
The first Alliance Airlines service of three weekly flights from Maroochydore is due 5.15pm on Friday.
To date more than 2800 tickets have been sold.
Cairns Airport's head of aviation Garry Porter said the route came at a time "when restoring aviation and the replacement of international travellers was important for the region".
"These new services offer more opportunity to connect Queensland and for visitors to experience the diversity of the state's cultural and natural experiences," he said.
"This is a wonderful vote of confidence in Cairns and the Far North after what has been an incredibly challenging period and we're delighted Alliance Airways sees the opportunity and demand to increase connectivity between our two regions."
Tourism Minister Kate Jones said the services were 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.
"Tourism is crucial to rebuilding our economy and supporting local jobs. That's why we're backing new flights direct to Cairns - 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.
"Since flights went on sale on June 18, Alliance has sold more than 2800 tickets. This is a shot in the arm for both regions and will support thousands of local tourism businesses."
Tourism Tropical North Queensland chief executive Mark Olsen said the flights were another means of tapping into the larger population of Queensland's southeast corner.
"The introduction of the Sunshine Coast route from Cairns will be a great win for our business, leisure and tourism markets.
"Direct flights are a great incentive for Sunshine Coast residents to trade cool winter temperatures for tropical warmth where they can snorkel and dive on the Great Barrier Reef and explore the world's oldest rainforest," he said.
"This new service has the potential to bring 40,000 visitors to the Cairns and Great Barrier Reef region which would be a welcome boost for our operators."
"Not only does it give Sunshine Coast residents direct access into Cairns, it gives Cairns residents the ability to connect with family and friends on the Sunshine Coast."
The new services will operate three times per week and are the first time the two regions have been directly connected by flights.
Originally published as First Sunny Coast flights a 'great win' for Cairns tourism