Queensland Airports Limited CEO Chris Mills has welcomed the return of the Gold Coast-Adelaide service, which will help to restart part of our visitor economy – allowing South Australian holidaymakers back to the region.
Across a 12-month period, this three-times-per-week service could see more than 27,000 South Australians traveling into Queensland for leisure and business reasons.
Mr Mills said the service, which was announced on the same day the border was re-opened to all except Victorian travellers, would be popular with South Australians keen to escape winter temperatures and holiday on the Gold Coast.
“It is pleasing to see this Gold Coast-Adelaide service brought forward with support from the Queensland Government. This will provide a much-needed boost to local tourism businesses,” he said.
Mr Mills said he expected the flights to be popular in both directions.
“After an extended period of confinement, locals are also keen to travel,” he said.
Mr Mills said additional flights for the Gold Coast had been scheduled in the lead up to the border re-opening but a return to pre-COVID-19 passenger levels would take time.
“We are seeing the beginning of recovery, with around six to eight flights scheduled each day for the rest of this month. This is important not just for us but for the tourism industry and the economy,” he said.
“We are seeing strong demand off the back of attractive sale fares by airlines, which will encourage travellers to act sooner and book a break away.”
Although pleased with the return of flights, Mr Mills pointed to the June passenger numbers for Gold Coast Airport, which showed a 98.9 per cent decline or 469,254 fewer passengers than in June 2019.
“This highlights the long road ahead of us, but we are ready for the challenge,” he said.
A range of hygiene and communication measures are in place throughout the Gold Coast Airport terminal to help keep passengers safe, as travel restrictions are lifted and passenger numbers increase.