Gold Coast Airport has picked up another international route with the start of Jetstar flights to Fiji.
The Qantas-owned low-cost carrier commenced its three times a week direct service on Tuesday, when Airbus A320 VH-VFJ took off from the Gold Coast as JQ125 at 0935 local time, landing at Nadi a little over three hours later.
The return flight, JQ126, departed Nadi at 1613 local time, landing back at Coolangatta a little after 1800.
Nadi was Jetstar’s sixth international destination from the Gold Coast, joining Tokyo Narita, Christchurch, Wellington, Auckland and Queenstown.
Jetstar Australia and New Zealand chief executive David Hall said the airline was the largest international carrier at Gold Coast Airport with 10,000 international seats per week.
“Fiji offers an idyllic escape for couples and families and we’ve already seen strong bookings for flights over the Easter school holiday period,” Hall said in a statement on Tuesday.
“We have a strong relationship with the Gold Coast Airport and we’re grateful for the key role they’ve played opening up new holiday opportunities for locals.”
Virgin Australia was the only other Australian airline operating international routes from Gold Coast Airport with flights to Auckland.
Gold Coast Airport is served by foreign carriers Scoot (Singapore), AirAsia X (Kuala Lumpur) and Air New Zealand (Auckland and Christchurch) with scheduled flights, while the likes of Cathay Pacific and China Southern have operated charters to the South Queensland tourist destination over the Chinese New Year period.
Passengers on the first flight, which Jetstar said departed “close to capacity”, were greeted by Fijian warriors and singers at the airport and received souvenirs from Jetstar and Tourism Fiji.
“This service will provide a great boost for our outbound market, demonstrating that the Gold Coast continues to be an attractive prospect for airlines in both an inbound and an outbound sense,” Gold Coast Airport chief operating officer David Collings said in a statement.
“We look forward to working with Jetstar and Nadi International Airport to ensure the long –term success of these services,” Collins said.