Coast tourism soars to new heights with flights to Canberra
In a major coup for the region's tourism and local businesses, flights between the Sunshine Coast and the nation's capital have been locked in for the first time.
As part of the State Government's economic recovery strategy, Alliance Airlines will fly from Canberra to the Sunshine Coast twice a week from October 23.
Sunshine Coast Airport chief executive Andrew Brodie said the flights would deliver up to 1600 seats a month to the new destination.
"This exciting new route will drive tourism in both directions, with southerners seeking to escape the Canberra chill and flock north to our beautiful beaches, magnificent hinterland and vibrant beach towns and Sunshine Coast locals given the chance to explore the cultural gems Canberra has to offer," he said.
"Sunshine Coast is one of Australia's largest regional economies, and this service will position the region for continued economic growth and diversification, providing business travel connections for key industries including health, agriculture, education and government."
Visit Sunshine Coast interim chief executive Craig Davidson and Tourism Noosa chief executive Melanie Anderson praised the flights, believing they would attract a new market to the region.
"Canberra has traditionally been a strong market for the Sunshine Coast and because of our reputation for nature-based holidays, we think we can grow that market substantially," Mr Davidson said.
"This is fantastic news for our region and will provide a much-needed boost to our economy," Ms Anderson added.
"Noosa has long been a popular destination for Canberrans and we look forward to welcoming more visitors to Noosa."
Alliance Airlines chief executive Lee Schofield said the company was proud to launch the new direct service.
"We are also extremely grateful to the team at Canberra Airport who have strongly supported this new service," he said.
"This new flight also provides a same-plane service from Canberra to Cairns via the Sunshine Coast and vice versa, meaning this new service offers Canberra and region residents direct access to not one but two iconic Queensland destinations for the first time."
Tourism Minister Kate Jones said the deal, secured through the government's $15 million Aviation Recovery Fund, would pump hundreds of thousands of dollars into Coast businesses.
"Today is a great win for the tourism industry which will now be able to tap into a new domestic market in the ACT," she said.
"Since last week's announcement that Queensland would reopen its borders to the ACT, there has been a major increase in upcoming flight activity from Canberra.
"We know there is a growing population in Canberra. To have direct flights between Australia's capital and one of the state's most important tourism destinations is a real coup."
Ms Jones said the government's recovery fund would be an "incredibly important tool" in helping the tourism sector bounce back from the pandemic.
"We know how important direct aviation access is to our tourism and events industry and this fund is allowing our airports to target services they believe will help drive our economic recovery," she said.
"To date, our aviation recovery fund has supported nine services which are estimated to deliver more than $35 million for our economy and support more than 300 jobs."
Alliance Airlines' launch fares between the Coast and Canberra are on sale now until September 30 and start at $129 one-way, including taxes.
Regular fares commence at $169 one-way, including taxes.
Fares between Canberra and Cairns via the Sunshine Coast are also available with a launch special of $249 one-way, including taxes, and are on sale until September 30.
Regular fares start at $275 one-way, including taxes.
All fares are inclusive of 20kg free checked baggage and are subject to availability. To book, head here or visit your local travel agent.