Airport’s bold plan to target would-be Bali holidaymakers
A BOLD plan to target Western Australia's would-be Bali holiday-makers is on the agenda of Cairns Airport's new head of aviation to boost the region's road to recovery.
Garry Porter, who was the Mackay Airport general manager and announced as head of aviation Cairns in late June, said the short-term goal was to work with its airline and tourism partners to "look at each opportunity available at each airport and around border restrictions", including the west.
"There's almost no Perth-to-Bali flights now, so we see the Perth-Cairns route as relevant as ever," Mr Porter said.
"I'm sure there are many from Western Australia who would like to see a tropical beach here as they would in Bali. With Cairns being a COVID-free area and seen as clean, people are looking for those experiences right now.
"We've got everything they want - the Reef, great restaurants, beautiful hotels from south to north."
The plan comes after the airport took a hit from the pandemic with domestic and international passenger numbers being about 3.6 million in the 12 months to June compared with 5.01 million in the previous period.
But numbers are trending upward again with the airport stating that weekly passengers now exceed 27,000 - a four-month high. Mr Porter also said demand from NSW and across Queensland was "really encouraging" with solid bookings in place for Jetstar flights from Adelaide set to resume on August 1.
"We've got a very unique opportunity in the short term because we have diverse products and services to entice travellers," he said.
"It's on us at the airport to help partners like Tropical Tourism North Queensland to stimulate that.
"Air transportation is critical to the economic recovery of our region and as we embrace the new normal."
Mr Porter said the strong demand underlined and affirmed that travellers were feeling safe with the safety measures that airlines and airports have put in place.
The return of South Australian flights follows the start of new services in mid-July with Alliance Airlines now operating three services a week from the Sunshine Coast and Air North operating three services a week from Toowoomba.
Earlier in July, Airport CEO Norris Carter flagged direct flights from Hobart and Canberra as part of its recovery strategy.
Originally published as Airport's bold plan to target would-be Bali holidaymakers