New flights to pump millions into Whitsundays economy

Published Wednesday, 03 June, 2020 at 10:58 AM

Premier and Minister for Trade
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

The Palaszczuk Government will support new flights direct from Brisbane to the Whitsundays to boost the region’s tourism industry which has been decimated by COVID-19.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced flights would go on sale today.

The Premier said the deal was secured in partnership with Whitsunday Regional Council.

The deal will see Alliance Airlines fly four times per week from Brisbane to the Whitsundays, with an option to ramp up to daily flights if demand permits.

“Tourism supports one in three jobs in the Whitsundays. We know how crucial this industry is to the livelihoods of people in this region,” the Premier said.

“We’ve been able to open Queensland to Queenslanders because Queenslanders did so well at dealing with the global coronavirus pandemic.

“Queensland has a plan for our economic recovery: Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs.

“We want to strengthen Queensland’s traditional industries like tourism.

“We want to see more Queenslanders having a holiday in the Whitsundays. That’s what today’s announcement is all about.” 

Tourism Minister Kate Jones said flights would return to the Whitsundays on 22 June for the first time since 28 March.

Ms Jones said flights would generate more than $9.2 million – bringing nearly 5300 tourists to the region over the next 12 months.

The Minister also revealed the flights would create more than 85 local jobs.

“We know that more tourists means more cash for local businesses,” Ms Jones said.

“This will pump millions of dollars into the local economy and support local jobs.”

Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox said he was committed to working with the government to support tourism businesses that were doing it tough.

“To attract a new airline partner as we start our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is a real boost for the tourism and business sectors in the Whitsundays," he said.

“With the Premier lifting restrictions on travel within Queensland it is important that our airport resume services.

“Over the last decade the tourism stakeholders in the Whitsundays have had to be a resilient mob but with a focus on domestic tourism for the next 12-18 months there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“Our airport was approaching 500,000 passengers annually prior to the pandemic so it is vital this key gateway to the Whitsundays is up and running as quickly as possible.”

Whitsunday Coast Airport Chief Operating Officer Aviation and Tourism Craig Turner said it was important to be proactive with so many regions fighting for flights now restrictions are easing.  

“These flights present the opportunity for WCA to develop a partnership with Alliance Airlines through this challenging period and beyond," Mr Turner said.

“Alliance Airlines launch fares will start at $99 one-way including taxes. All fares are inclusive of 20kg free checked baggage.

“In addition to the “now”, WCA and Council are committed to a long-term relationship with Alliance to boost future passenger numbers to the Whitsundays.”  

Alliance Airlines CEO, Lee Schofield, said that Alliance Airlines was delighted to be partnering with Whitsunday Coast Airport to make these new flights a reality.

“We understand there are many essential services that are currently unable to access the Whitsundays and Alliance are proud to be able to be the first airline to recommence scheduled services to Whitsunday Coast Airport,” Mr Schofield said.

“With current travel restrictions easing we look forward to working with WCA to welcome many visitors to the Whitsunday region on our flights.

“Alliance Airlines are proud to be playing this important role in reawakening tourism in this beautiful part of Queensland.

“Alongside our existing services linking Brisbane with Bundaberg, Gladstone and now Whitsunday Coast, Alliance welcomes the opportunity to work with the Queensland Government and other Regional Councils within this great state to bring further regular, reliable and affordable air services to Queensland.”


Media contact: Jack Harbour 0419 620 447