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Air New Zealand returns to Sunshine Coast for 2023 season

written by Jake Nelson | June 26, 2023

Craig Murray shot this Air New Zealand A320neo, ZK-NHB

Air New Zealand has resumed its seasonal route from Auckland to the Sunshine Coast for 2023.

The first flight, NZ169, landed at Sunshine Coast Airport at 11am on Sunday on board the Airbus A320neo ZK-NHE. Air New Zealand will operate flights three times per week between Auckland and the Sunshine Coast until 15 October, with an estimated 16,000 seats available over the season.

The arrival of NZ169 marked the Sunshine Coast’s first international passengers for 2023, said Sunshine Coast Airport General Manager Aviation and Commercial, Scott Norris.

“The return of Air New Zealand will connect Coast locals, many of whom are from New Zealand, with friends and family across the Tasman, while also unlocking travel destinations in North America, Asia, and the world,” he said.

Sunshine Coast Airport Interim CEO Gary Allen also welcomed the resumption of the seasonal service, which is popular among winter travellers.


“We have a long friendship with Air New Zealand and with today’s inbound flight nearing capacity, it shows just how desirable our region is to the world,” he said.

“We have seen record passenger numbers over the last twelve months and, with Air New Zealand now back with us, I’m excited to see what the future holds.”

Sunshine Coast Airport has seen massive growth this year, with Bonza choosing it as its primary base – a move that increased the number of direct services from four destinations in 2019 to 17 in 2023. In April 2023, Sunshine Coast Airport attracted a record 162,000 passenger movements.

Chairman Dennis Chant said former CEO Andrew Brodie played a “critical role” in attracting Bonza to the airport.

“The past four and a half years have been both challenging and successful for Sunshine Coast Airport, and Andrew was charged with firstly navigating the Airport through the pandemic and lockdowns, and then charting a recovery phase built around expanding direct routes and attracting new operators,” he said.

“The implementation of the Sunshine Coast Airport Master Plan 2040 began under Andrew’s leadership, and its continued roll-out of the project will be a major priority for the future, including the upgrading of the terminal, and the development of commercial opportunities in precincts within the airport.

Brodie’s other accomplishments included launching a new runway in 2020 that allowed it to accommodate larger widebody aircraft, and securing a long-term lease of Coffs Harbour Airport.

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