Queensland’s tourism and export industries Delta a massive boost

Published Saturday, 24 February, 2024 at 11:16 AM


Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment
The Honourable Cameron Dick

Minister for Tourism and Sport
The Honourable Michael Healy

  • Delta Air Lines to fly direct between Los Angeles and Brisbane
  • Supported by the Queensland Government’s $200 million Attracting Aviation Investment Fund
  • Bringing in up to 114,000 visitors over three years, spending $208 million.
  • New flights to increase export opportunity to the US

Another major airline will begin direct flights between Los Angeles and Brisbane from 4 December, in another major boost to the Queensland tourism and export industries.

Delta Air Lines will start three return flights per week for the Australian summer, allowing Americans to escape their frigid winter and enjoy Queensland’s beautiful sunshine and beaches.

The biggest carrier is forecast to increase this journey to daily services in 2025 and 2026, with support from the Queensland Government’s $200 million Attracting Aviation Investment Fund.

It means the three largest airlines in the world, Delta, United Airlines and American Airlines, are all running direct flights from Brisbane to the US.

The new flights will bring up to 114,000 visitors to Queensland who will spend up to $208 million.

This influx of tourists will support up to 840 jobs including 520 direct jobs and 320 indirect jobs.

It is also a boost for Queensland exporters, with the A350-900 aircraft able to carry up to 20 tonnes of the Sunshine State’s best products directly to the US.

This increase will grow Queensland’s exports to the world’s largest economy, which last financial year was worth $3.1 billion, $384 million of that via air freight.

The increased competition should also help reduce the cost of return from Queensland to the US.

Quotes attributable to Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Cameron Dick:

“The Queensland Government’s $200 million Attracting Aviation Investment Fund is putting Queensland tourism operators and exporters first.

“We know Americans love to escape the freezing North American winter and enjoy Queensland’s beautiful weather, beaches, hinterland, and culture.

“Our Government‘s deal with Delta Air Lines ensures Americans can now fly directly to the Sunshine State using any of the three largest airlines in the world.

“This deal with Delta is estimated to bring 114,000 people to Queensland over three years who will spend up to $208 million in Queensland shops, bars, restaurants, hotels and enjoying our world-class experiences.

“The increased services should also put downward pressure on airline prices while providing more opportunities for Queensland’s exporters to tap into the world’s largest economy.”

Quotes attributable to Tourism Minister Michael Healy:

“This is another huge win for Queensland and fantastic news for the state’s international tourism recovery and good jobs.

“The US was Queensland’s third largest visitor market in 2019, so we know there is a real appetite from Americans to travel to Queensland and enjoy our great lifestyle and iconic visitor experiences.

“The US also represents the 10th largest international student cohort in Queensland so this announcement will help us attract even more students and their families back for extended stays.

“Part of the funding through AAIF will go towards a TEQ-led marketing campaign to promote the Delta Air Lines flights, while Delta’s service agreement with REX will allow passengers to make seamless domestic connections.”

Quotes attributable to Gert-Jan de Graaf, CEO, Brisbane Airport

“We are very proud Brisbane Airport will become Delta’s second destination in Australia.

“Brisbane is charting unprecedented territory, witnessing an unparalleled level of interest from North American visitors.

“This strategic move by Delta Air Lines not only fortifies the ties between the United States and Queensland but also signifies a boost for the local visitor economy.

“American tourists love visiting Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Noosa, travelling north to savour the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef and west to experience the Outback.

“I’m not sure if it is the upcoming Olympics or the insatiable appetite for Bluey, but right now Brisbane is the ‘must add’ destination for North American carriers, and this opens a world of opportunity.”

Quotes attributable to Delta Air Lines Senior Vice President of Network Planning Joe Esposito

“With this addition of Brisbane, Delta’s upcoming winter schedule will offer our customers up to 17 weekly flights between the U.S. and Australia.

“This marks our most extensive schedule to the South Pacific to date, and as we build our presence in the region, we know our customers will enjoy the enhanced experience consistently provided by Delta.”

Quotes attributable to Tourism and Events Queensland CEO, Patricia O’Callaghan

“TEQ welcomes this latest announcement, and we are already in talks with Delta about joint marketing opportunities which will kick-off mid-year to fill these planes headed for Queensland.

“Delta’s loyalty base through their SkyMiles program is a significant opportunity and we’ll be working with them to encourage travellers to come and explore what Americans love most about Queensland – our beaches, the reef and rainforest, our unique Australian wildlife, our way of life and our people.

“Additional direct access from Los Angeles into Brisbane is a massive opportunity for our tourism industry and while the United States is one of our biggest markets, we have so far only recovered around three quarters of our 2019 numbers, so we have gains to make to recover and then grow beyond pre-pandemic visitor levels.”

Further information:

The Attracting Aviation Investment Fund has now supported 29 services delivering two million international inbound seats and up to $1.82 billion in overnight visitor spending each year, supporting more than 21,000 jobs.

The Fund now supports three direct US connections with mainland US carriers to Brisbane including:

  • United Airlines from San Francisco, operating since October 2022, supporting 227,000 inbound seats and $151 million in visitor expenditure over three years.
  • American Airlines from Dallas Fort Worth, starting October 2024, supporting 140,000 inbound seats and $113 million in visitor expenditure over three years.
  • Delta Air Lines from Los Angeles, starting December 2024, supporting 271,000 inbound seats and $208 million in visitor expenditure over three years.

Total seats between the USA and Brisbane in 2024 will be 178,000 seats, rising to 247 000 in 2025.

For more information, visit https://www.dtis.qld.gov.au/tourism/aviation. 


Media contact – Campbell Gellie: 0433 987 744