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International flights to resume at Townsville Airport from September

written by australianaviation.com.au | April 24, 2015
An aerial shot of Townsville Airport.
An aerial shot of Townsville Airport.

Townsville Airport has secured its first international route two months after the federal government agreed to support passenger processing at the North Queensland gateway.

Qantas’s low-cost subsidiary Jetstar will fly three times a week between Townsville and Bali (Denpasar) with Airbus A320s from September, the airport said on Friday.

Townsville Airport said chief operating officer Kevin Gill said the new flights to Bali would offer North Queenslanders more choice and convenience for their travel plans.

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“Denpasar is not just an exciting destination in its own right, but it’s also a major international air services hub with direct connections to many major cities around the world,” Gill said in a statement.

“This is exciting news for Townsville and puts our airport and city back on the international travel map.”

The inaugural service was slated for September 2, with JQ102 scheduled to depart Townsville at 2255 local time, and arrive at Denpasar Airport at 0130 the next day. The reciprocal JQ101 has a departure time from Bali of 0230 and an arrival time at Townsville of 0915.

Townsville Airport received the go-ahead for international flights in February after an “in-principle agreement of the National Passenger Processing Committee to facilitate international services” at the airport.

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Jetstar chief executive for Australia and New Zealand David Hall told the Townsville Bulletin the new flights would not have been viable without a cost-effective customs and security solution.

Hall said Jetstar’s bookings showed there were plenty of passengers from Townsville who currently flew to Bali via another Australian port and he hoped the new service would appeal to families and groups of friends.

Townsville Airport has had international flights in the past, most recently with the now defunct Strategic Airlines flying to Denpasar.

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17 Comments

  • Graeme Hooper

    says:

    Great for Townsville. When is JQ going to announce international flights from Newcastle to Auckland and Christchurch and to Singapore via Darwin. Surely Hunter and Central Coast 1 million people deserve better.

  • Jane

    says:

    Townsvilles only international choice is the number one Bogan destination. How insulting. I will be officially boycotting all flights from Townsville and encouraging all friends to do likewise until Townsville is provided with more choices, such as Europe.

  • Sue

    says:

    I have booked my flights but the fine print still says subject to government and regulatory approval. Why have the flights leave so late at night, surly the cost of staff would be higher and I always thought Townsville airport tower was automate after 9pm.

  • Salesh

    says:

    I thought JQ had plans to fly from Newcastle to Auckland and Nadi once the reno was completed at Newcastle

  • Random

    says:

    Whilst the resumption is exciting, success for Townsville as an international port will need a network of services. NZ and Singapore in addition to Bali are essential for this new international venture to work properly in the longer term. Connecting a warm weather tropical city with another warm weather tropical resort location does not play to Townsville’s strengths as both a destination as well as an outgoing tourism catchment.

  • Carl

    says:

    Jane are you serious? Practically impossibly for Townsville to have flights to Europe as our airport is too small for bigger planes. Also the demand isn’t there. You really think airlines will travel with a couple people on there planes? The more people that support international flights the more likely we’ll get a flight to changi airport or KL airport. Then we would have a one stop flight to Europe. Boycott all you like but it’ll only hurt the chances of getting future international flights.

  • Chuck

    says:

    It would appear that Singapore or KL, and NZ are the destinations that are really on the wish-list of the Townsville public, which does make one wonder what the airlines keep seeing in this route that the rest of the traveling public doesn’t. Jetstar would probably do well to invest heavily in a number of these other routes and create a small hub network in Townsville – the routes would then feed eachother to an extent and create a critical mass. Bali by itself will never achieve that. Random’s point about connecting warm weather ports is valid. You only have to look to the northern hemisphere to see that cold-hot connections (Canada toTropical American locations; Scandinavia to Mediterranean locations) and connections through Asian hubs (Sing, KL, HK, Dubai) drive route selection in other parts of the world. Bali seems to fit none of these criteria. Sing or KL, and NZ routes would seem to have far more going for them. Perhaps there are more announcements in the wings?

  • Adrian

    says:

    I thought the 787 was designed for long haul, low volume, point to point routing to serve airports like this.
    The Hub is dead long live the Hub.

  • Random

    says:

    The hub is far from dead. Dubai and Asian ports all act as hubs for long flights. That is one reason why Emirates and similarly placed airlines have a huge competitive advantage – in many respects they are in the “middle” of a huge number of routes. Australian airports and airlines will never be able to reap that geographic advantage. Townsville however could act as a mini-hub for some NZ connections to Asia, but would require a different ideology than has thus far been employed for services into and through Townsville.

  • Nicholas from CNS

    says:

    What has been overlooked is that Cairns is 4 hrs by car up the road and has a relatively broad international network. I can’t for the life of me see Bali ex TSV doing well when JQ has also just started Bali direct flights ex CNS. Due to its tourism focus CNS will always have the larger international market.

  • Les Parker

    says:

    Won’t catch me on the red eye flights to mongrel Bali. I’ll fly through Darwin in the daytime thanks. All the flights from Asia come in on a red eye schedule….be stuffed if I’m doing it both ways.

    Bali is a flop and very few want to go there. Bad start Townsville. Cowboy thinking. Singapore Manila KL or Saigon NZ would be sensible….not horrible Bali.

  • Chuck

    says:

    Townsville’s domestic catchment is over 300,000 and the Bruce Hwy to Cairns is one of the most maligned stretches of road in the country with much work yet to be started to even guarantee all-weather passage. Townsville via Cairns (or southern ports) has proven thus far over many years to be spectacularly unpopular with the catchment. Townsville is workable if it’s supported by a collection of routes – not just Bali as an isolated venture but also NZ – which no airline has even tried in the modern era with long range single aisle jets.

  • Adrian

    says:

    How about building a hub around Broome/Port Headland to serve regional Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia. An Indian Ocean Hub

  • Daly

    says:

    I agree with Chuck. We need a route or routes to more mainstream airline hubs like Singapore, KL, Hong Kong or Auckland for international flights out of Townsville, to attract enough volume of bookings from the local catchment area to make it commercially sustainable.
    Bali has been tried before with Strategic Airlines and that failed. Perhaps one of the reasons for this is that Denpasar doesn’t offer direct flights to where most passengers are likely to want to go. This means that passengers would need to have two stops to anywhere except Bali.

  • Speak

    says:

    Some answers:
    – The flights are timed late at night because otherwise the plane would be sitting on the ground overnight waiting to service higher yielding routes in the morning. A plane on the ground generates no revenue.
    – CNS-DPS and TSV-DPS are likely a strategic move by Jetstar to keep Air Asia out of the Australia – Bali market. Air Asia have clearly signalled their intent by swamping the PER-DPS market and launching MEL-DPS, so Jetstar are defending their turf on what is one of Australia’s biggest leisure markets.
    – DPS offers connections to just about any major hub city in Asia (pretty much all the main Asian carriers fly there) and even 1-stop (after DPS) connections to Europe with carriers like Qatar, China Southern, Malaysian, Cathay Pacific, Singapore etc. Although I’ll admit than a 0130 arrival into DPS isn’t the greatest for onwards connections this Jetstar service offers one of the more geographically coherent options for connecting to Asia and Europe. But, as mentioned before, that’s kind of irrelevant, because firstly low cost carriers like Jetstar focus on point to point travellers not through-passengers, and secondly Jetstar are almost certainly flying this market for strategic reasons and to increase their aircraft utilisation.
    – TSV is about 6.5 hours away from SIN, which is right on the absolute range limit for the current generation of A320 and B737 aircraft (and almost unquestionably too far for carriers with a high-density configuration like Jetstar). KUL, HKG, etc. are obviously further. I severely doubt the yearly demand would be there for a regular widebody service, so sorry TSV residents but you’re stuck with 2-stop connections to anywhere interesting until the A320 NEO and B737MAX are launched over the next few years.

  • Blacky

    says:

    Eh… eh…..bintang singlets and beer towers!! Yeah nah yeah!!

  • PhilC

    says:

    Well Bogan flights to Bali is a start at least .As other have commented I see Singapore or Bangkok as logical next steps .Also small frequency to PNG may be the go in such things as Beechcraft a combi such as a BAE 146 Combi Beef , mutton and local fruits out of season in Sing .HK and BKK also could be a factor .

    Wonder if a carrier such as Scoot could do a Milk Run with 787 Sing ,Townsville Sydney Or Melbourne when that kicks in late this year ?

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