Cairns Airport has the nation’s capital covered with the announcement today of a new Qantas non-stop service to Canberra scheduled to begin on November 21.
Garry Porter Head of Aviation at Cairns Airport said the new flights were part of the step by step approach to increase capacity from major domestic markets across the country as borders open.
‘These new non-stop Canberra services are a key part of Cairns aviation revitalisation and recovery. Re-establishing of our domestic connectivity is an important part of our region’s economic rebound.’
‘The new link to our national capital will boost important business and tourism links for the region, providing locals with the opportunity to explore iconic national attractions and Canberrans with an opportunity to discover the beauty of Tropical North Queensland,’ Mr Porter said.
Member for Cairns Michael Healy said the new twice a week service was made possible through the support of the Palaszczuk Government’s $15 million Aviation Recovery Fund.
“This is great news for Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef. We know our tourism industry has been doing it incredibly tough as a result of COVID-19 but thanks to our strong health response, we can now focus on economic recovery,” he said.
“This is exactly why we developed the Aviation Recovery Fund – to fast-track the recommencement of flights and secure more direct flights to Queensland, supporting tourism businesses to get back on their feet.”
The service is estimated to contribute $2.2 million in overnight visitor expenditure and support 17 jobs.
“To date, the Palaszczuk Government’s Aviation Recovery Fund has supported 15 services, worth an estimated $56.9 million in overnight visitor expenditure, supporting 464 jobs,” Mr Healy said.
The flights will be operated by QantasLink’s dual class Boeing 717s featuring 12 seats in Business and 98 seats in Economy. The new service follows on from the recent successful launch of Alliance Airlines services from Canberra and the Sunshine Coast.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland Chief Executive Officer Mark Olsen said the direct flights were just in time for the destination’s summer in the tropics campaign.
“We estimate flights from Canberra could bring in $1 million a week to our visitor economy which is good news for the region,” he said.
“It is the perfect time for Canberra residents to head to Cairns and discover why the world’s oldest rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef are at their best in summer.”