New gulf flights to take off

Published Thursday, 19 January, 2023 at 10:05 AM


Acting Premier and Minister for the Olympic and Paralympic Games
The Honourable Dr Steven Miles

Assistant Minister for Tourism Industry Development
Mr Michael Healy

A trial of new gulf aviation services will start in March, providing a boost to tourism in Far North Queensland.

Acting Premier Steven Miles today announced the Palaszczuk Government would invest $1.2 million in a 10-month trial with Regional Express Airlines (Rex) to operate the services.

The trial will start on March 6 and introduce additional flights on Mondays and Fridays for the remote communities of Normanton and Mornington Island.

The Acting Premier said Mondays and Fridays were busy days for travel throughout the gulf and these additional flights would provide extra capacity to ensure more people could travel to the gulf.  

"The Monday flight will take off from Cairns and stop in Normanton before travelling to Mornington Island and then returning to Cairns," Mr Miles said.

"The Friday service will leave from Cairns and stop on Mornington Island first before stopping in Normanton and returning to Cairns.

“These flights will provide additional capacity to ensure essential services are delivered in the gulf and they will also provide better access to health, education and employment in regional centres such as Cairns and Mount Isa.

“The flights will also provide a boost for tourism to ensure more people can travel to and experience one of the most beautiful and unique parts of the country.”

Assistant Minister for Tourism Industry Development and Member for Cairns Michael Healy said additional flights was good news for the whole of Far North Queensland.

“More flights means more people passing through Cairns Airport, which is great news for our local economy, “Mr Healy said.

"This trial will complement the existing gulf regulated air route, which provides services for the communities of Burketown and Doomadgee in addition to Normanton and Mornington Island.

“Weather it’s the gulf or the reef, Cairns is the gateway to so many tourism adventures.”

Rex General Manager of Network Strategy Warrick Lodge said the airline had operated Gulf route services in partnership with TMR since January 2015.

“The record passenger numbers achieved during 2022 are a testament to the safe, reliable and affordable services we have delivered to the communities over the past eight years,” Mr Lodge said. 

“The increase in capacity supports this growth in demand, and will be instrumental in enhancing the social and economic wellbeing of these remote Communities in 2023.”

Residents are encouraged to make use of these additional services as the performance of the trial service will be assessed before a decision on the future of the services is made before the end of 2023.

More information on Queensland's long distance air services can be found on the Department of Transport and Main Roads website


Media contact:  Amy Hunter - 0423 651 484