Qantas Airways flew into Sunshine Coast Airport yesterday evening, re-establishing direct daily services after a break of ten years.
The Qantas Boeing 717 arrived from Sydney with a full passenger load in preparation for the Christmas holiday season and Qantas is reporting near-capacity passenger loads throughout the summer period, before the service changes to a business schedule from 8 February.
The arrival of the Qantas services, along with the debut of direct summer services by Air New Zealand, and an increase in Jetstar services, will see Sunshine Coast Airport continue its record-breaking performances.
During November there were 79,905 passenger movements at Sunshine Coast Airport, up 10% from November 2014, while the Commonwealth’s BITRE data revealed Sunshine Coast Airport (MCY) as the fastest growing airport in Australia, with a 13.8% increase in passengers for the year up to September 2015.
Visit Sunshine Coast CEO, Simon Ambrose, said that the reintroduction of Qantas services capped an outstanding year for the Sunshine Coast.
“It’s fantastic to have all these holiday makers arrive on the flight, but we are probably even more excited by the prospect of the start of Qantas’ business schedule after the holidays, because it will add a new dimension to the Sunshine Coast’s tourism sector,” he said.
“There is a vast amount of infrastructure development taking place across the region as well as the re-location of companies to the Sunshine Coast, and the availability of daily business-oriented flights will provide a great boost for corporate travellers and the business events market.
“Qantas’ international reach is also very important, and by adding the Sunshine Coast to its network, it will allow us to market more strongly in Asia, Europe and America. Last year, we saw double digit growth from the UK and Europe, and 20.9% growth in the USA market, and with local girl Bindi Irwin’s success on Dancing with the Stars USA we can expect a stellar year in 2016 as a result of the expansion of direct services by Qantas.”
QantasLink Chief Executive Officer John Gissing and Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson were on the first flight which arrived on a perfect Coast evening.
Mr Gissing said the services would provide more premium options for business and leisure travellers to and from the region.
“These flights meet the growing demand for a premium leisure service here in the Sunshine Coast and we know our customers will enjoy flying on our QantasLink Boeing 717 jet aircraft, with business class and in-flight entertainment,” Mr Gissing said.
“Offering both Qantas and Jetstar on the route means we can appeal to leisure travellers with Jetstar, while Qantas caters for more premium leisure and business customers. Ultimately, it’s about giving people more choice”
Mayor Jamieson said with more than 68,000 seats available, the new Qantas service further supports local business growth and would complement the major developments underway on the Sunshine Coast.
“Establishing the new service has been a priority for Council and I commend Qantas on their commitment to, and confidence in, the region,” Mayor Jamieson said.
QantasLink’s two-class B717s are fitted with Q Streaming and with the airline’s new Qantas Entertainment App, customers have the option to stream more than 500 hours of movies and TV shows, and more than 400 hours of music and radio content to their own personal device. Customers also have the option of Qantas supplied iPads available in every seat.
These new flights expand the Qantas Group offering on the Sunshine Coast, complementing Jetstar’s 49 flights per week, which increase to 52 weekly flights over the Christmas and New Year period, and minimum three-daily services from both Melbourne and Sydney.