A special water cannon salute greeted the first plane load of passengers flying direct from Korea to the Gold Coast this morning.
The traditional aviation welcome ceremony hailed the arrival of the Jetstar Airways 787 Dreamliner before passengers were greeted by Gold Coast Airport’s mascot Goldie and given an Australian-themed cupcake as a gift.
Queensland Airports Limited Chief Executive Officer Chris Mills was in the arrivals hall to give the passengers a warm Australian welcome.
“Korea is an important market for our region – this new service will deliver significant benefits to our economy,” Mr Mills said.
“In the last 12 months, more than a quarter of a million South Koreans visited Australia. This new service means that Korean visitors who want to access the glorious beaches and beautiful hinterland of the Gold Coast and northern NSW can now fly direct. We will see more visitors, who will stay longer and spend more.
“And from the middle of next year, they will be able to stay in the new Gold Coast Airport Rydges hotel.”
Mr Mills said cultural awareness training had been delivered for employees and terminal stakeholders and a Korean liaison officer employed as part of customer service preparations for the new Seoul service.
“We are really focused on ensuring South Korean visitors receive a warm welcome and fond farewell when travel through Gold Coast Airport,” he said.
“Our Korean liaison officer is on hand to provide any assistance required, while many of our employees and key stakeholders in the terminal have undergone cultural awareness training to ensure we are doing our best to assist our customers.”
The cultural awareness workshops provided valuable information about the likes and dislikes of Korean travellers.
Today’s welcome followed celebrations yesterday to mark the first departing flight from Gold Coast to Seoul in what will become a thrice-weekly service operated by Jetstar Airways in a code-share partnership with Korean airline Jeju Air.
The new service is the only direct connection to Seoul offered by a low-cost carrier from Australia. The flights will operate on Jetstar’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, and represent an additional 52,260 seats into Gold Coast Airport each year.
The route is supported through the Queensland Government’s Attracting Aviation Investment Fund, in partnership with airport owner Queensland Airports Limited and Destination Gold Coast and is forecast to contribute up to $176.5 million to the state economy in the next three years.
The new Seoul service adds to Gold Coast Airport’s international links, which include Singapore, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur and four ports in New Zealand, including Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown.