Flying to North and South America from the Coast just got easier, with Air New Zealand retiming its Gold Coast schedule to offer more streamlined onward connections to the US, via its Auckland hub.
Air New Zealand’s new Gold Coast-Auckland schedule, which came into effect on Sunday, allows passengers to more easily connect to domestic destinations in New Zealand, as well as to North and South America ports, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, Vancouver and Buenos Aires.
The airline will also introduce widebody aircraft during the July peak travel period on some services between the Gold Coast and Auckland, boosting capacity by 43 per cent over this period and introducing Business Premier, Premium Economy and Skycouch products on the route.
In addition, Air New Zealand will deploy its new, larger A321neo aircraft between the Gold Coast and Christchurch from July to October, increasing capacity on that route by 27 percent over this period.
Gold Coast Airport Chief Operating Officer Marion Charlton welcomed the news, which provides better connections to New Zealand and firms up the region’s links to America.
“New Zealand is the second largest visitor market for the Gold Coast and it is the number one international market for Gold Coast Airport,” she said.
“The change in schedule allows for an easy two-hour transit in Auckland for passengers travelling on to destinations in the US – giving them a more streamlined journey than in the past.
“It also encourages greater American visitation to the Gold Coast.”
Destination Gold Coast CEO Annaliese Battista said the key to maximising the value of aviation investment in the region is to ensure it is firmly supported by robust destination marketing.
“Destination Gold Coast has partnered with Air New Zealand on a nation-wide campaign in the lead-up to winter to lure repeat Kiwi visitors to the Gold Coast,” she said.
“The cooler months are traditionally softer for inbound visitation for the Coast but for our Kiwi cousins it’s the peak period for outbound travel, and we are looking to capitalise on that.”
It follows up to 60 per cent capacity growth from Air New Zealand between Gold Coast Airport and Auckland during the peak summer travel period.
Air New Zealand Chief Revenue Officer Cam Wallace said the improved schedule and move to the airline’s new 214-seat A321neo for flights from Auckland and Christchurch was great news for travellers.
“The Gold Coast is a firm favourite for Kiwi holidaymakers and Australia is New Zealand’s largest source of visitors so it’s terrific our Coast connection keeps growing.”
In the past five years, the number of passengers travelling between the Gold Coast and New Zealand has jumped by 200,000 annually, to 580,000.
The airport welcomed 6.6 million passengers heading to and from south east Queensland and Northern NSW last financial year. Passenger numbers are expected to reach 16.6 million annually by 2037.
The airport is owned by Queensland Airports Limited, which also operates Townsville, Mount Isa and Longreach airports.