Air New Zealand will fly three times a week between Auckland and Queensland’s Sunshine Coast during the summer holidays in an expanded seasonal schedule.
The airline currently operates a winter seasonal service on the route between June and October, and is adding a summer season with flights starting on December 13 and running until the end of February 2016. All services are operated with Airbus A320s.
The new flights for 2015 represented an 81 per cent increase in capacity on the route compared with the prior year, Air NZ said on Friday.
“Our existing service has proven popular with many New Zealand holidaymakers heading across the ditch for a mid-winter getaway, while this new summer season is expected to encourage more Australians to make the trip across to visit New Zealand,” Air NZ chief sales and commercial officer Cam Wallace said.
Air NZ has flown to the Sunshine Coast since 2012 and the new flights are part of its trans-Tasman partnership with Virgin Australia.
Sunshine Coast Airport said the additional Air NZ services were supported by a partnership between the airport, Sunshine Coast Council, Tourism and Events Queensland and Sunshine Coast Destination Ltd.
The airport’s chief executive Simon Ambrose said New Zealand was the Sunshine Coast’s top international market, with 60,000 Kiwis visiting the region in the 12 months to September 2014, up 18.4 per cent from the prior year.
“The timing of this announcement is ideal as Sunshine Coast Destination will launch the largest marketing campaign to date in New Zealand later this month,” Ambrose said in a statement.
Ambrose said he hoped the additional services would open up more opportunities for Asian tourists to visit during the Chinese New Year in 2016, as well as offer those from the United States a convenient connection via Auckland.