New airline Bonza is set to inject thousands of additional seats into the Cairns market each week, starting today with the first-ever flight from another Queensland holiday gem.
The inaugural flight from the Sunshine Coast landed at Cairns Airport shortly after 9.30am this morning. Passengers stepped into a reef and rainforest-inspired celebration as they entered the terminal, with pops of purple and catering chosen to showcase local produce.
Since going on sale in late January, the direct service between these routes has proven highly popular, particularly ahead of the upcoming school holidays.
Easter travellers are also expected to make the most of new direct Bonza flights between Cairns and Mackay, which launch on Wednesday, and Cairns to Rockhampton, which start on Friday.
Cairns Airport Chief Executive Officer Richard Barker said the Bonza services had come at an ideal time and would further bolster the post-pandemic recovery.
“These flights are a win for both travellers and local industries, who will benefit from the increase of visitors to our region,” he said.
“The range of new Bonza routes, which are currently unserved by non-stop services, will add about 3000 additional seats to the Cairns market per week once the schedule is ramped up.”
Linking two of Queensland's most iconic tourism destinations was a great way for Bonza to launch its services in Cairns, Mr Barker said.
“We expect to see many travellers take up these flights when travelling between the Sunshine Coast and Tropical North Queensland, whether for a holiday or catching up with friends and relatives,” he said.
“The Sunshine Coast to Cairns flights will operate five times per week, including a Friday to Monday option for southeast Queenslanders who want a weekend away.”
Bonza Chief Executive Officer Tim Jordan, who travelled to Cairns on the inaugural flight, said: “People of the Sunshine Coast, Gympie, Moreton Bay and Brisbane are booking direct flights to Cairns for as low as $79 per person one way. Why wouldn’t you, when for less than a tank of fuel you can be transported to the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef?”
“In return, locals from Cairns and surrounds are taking advantage of low-cost fares to the Sunshine Coast to take in the plethora of surf beaches, craft breweries or to see friends and family more often.”
Bonza will operate two flights per week between Cairns and Mackay, and a twice weekly service between Cairns and Rockhampton.
The next couple of weeks will be action-packed at Cairns Airport. Along with three new Bonza routes, Qantas will tomorrow (Tuesday) resume flights between Cairns and Darwin. Qantas is also kickstarting seasonal flights between Cairns and Canberra, with the first to begin on Tuesday April 4.
Internationally, Air New Zealand’s services between Cairns and Auckland will commence again on Wednesday.