New year-round services with Air New Zealand announced today by the Queensland Government will provide in excess of 16,000 additional seats into Cairns a year, and are a clear vote of confidence in the region.
The new services, part of a deal by the Queensland government with Air New Zealand will significantly increase capacity into the Far North and connect Cairns directly with Auckland twelve months of the year.
Cairns Airport Chief Executive Richard Barker said the flights were an important step in the international recovery of the Far North’s economy and that he was thrilled with the announcement.
“These new year-round services will provide further opportunity to really grow connectivity between Cairns and Auckland.
“Securing year-round services have been a long-held ambition of Cairns airport, so its incredibly encouraging to see these flights at a time when there’s still so much uncertainty for international carriers.
“It demonstrates the confidence Air New Zealand has in Cairns and will offer so much opportunity for New Zealanders to come to Cairns and for people from across the Far North to fly direct to Auckland year-round.
“The support of the Queensland government in securing these flights will encourage many of our friends across the Tasman to come and experience the wonders of Tropical North Queensland.”
Tourism Tropical North Queensland Chief Executive Officer Mark Olsen said the direct flights to Cairns could inject more than $1.5 million a week into the region.
“In 2019 our region had 38,000 visitors a year from New Zealand with the majority visiting friends and relatives and year-round flights could see that number almost double,” he said.
“The Cairns and Great Barrier Reef region is one of the highest aspirational destinations for New Zealanders as we have two World Heritage areas to explore.
“TTNQ recently held focus groups in New Zealand to help us understand how to direct our campaign activities to grow that market.
“We found Kiwis know about the reef and the rainforest, but they do not understand the depth of product we have.
“We will focus our marketing and public relations activity around educating Kiwis about our adventure activities, family-friendly experiences and our food and beverage offering.
“TTNQ currently has a campaign in market to capitalise on Tourism and Events Queensland’s campaign with Expedia and has appointed a public relations agency to help promote the destination with a series of media educationals in coming months.”
Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchcliffe said that before the pandemic, New Zealand was Queensland’s second-largest international market worth more than $600 million to the Queensland economy.
“Before the pandemic, New Zealand was Queensland’s second-largest international market worth more than $600 million to the Queensland economy,” Minister Hinchcliffe said.
The additional seats are on top of the seasonal flights from between Cairns and Auckland operating from June to October.