Qantas has announced the return of mainline domestic services to Coolangatta, just over four years after the last flight took off from the South East Queensland airport.
Australia’s largest domestic airline has citied “growing demand for premium leisure and business travel in the region” in its decision to reinstate flights using Boeing 737-800 aircraft from late October.
Qantas Group Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce said Qantas was focused on delivering the best network, frequency and service in every part of the market.
“Qantas and all of our people are very excited to return to the Gold Coast and relaunch services between Sydney and the Gold Coast,” Joyce said.
“With the massive development of south-east Queensland, the Gold Coast is Australia’s sixth-largest city and a fast-growing premium travel market.
“Our customers have told us that they want a premium leisure and business service, complementing Jetstar’s existing services as part of our two-brand strategy, and we are responding to that demand.
“Qantas will be the only domestic airline operating out of the Gold Coast which includes the convenience of a meal and checked in baggage for all passengers as part of the fare no matter what time they are flying or which class they are travelling in.”
Joyce said the Gold Coast passenger lounge, currently used by Jetstar, will undergo a refurbishment and will be reopened as a Qantas Club by the end of 2012.
He said Qantas will also introduce smarter, faster check-in kiosks for ease of checking-in for Qantas passengers at the airport.
Joyce said Qantas started in Queensland 92 years ago and the airline’s connection with the state had never been stronger.
“The Qantas Group employs more than 5000 people in Queensland, our primary maintenance base is here, we will soon be opening a new catering facility in Brisbane and we are rapidly expanding our regional services throughout Queensland,” he said.
Mantra Group CEO Bob East said the return of Qantas to the Gold Coast was fantastic news for the region.
“The Gold Coast is an iconic holiday destination and the return of Qantas is excellent news for travellers and the tourism industry,” he said.
“Gold Coast operators continue to offer great experiences for families and travellers from around Australia, and the region continues to grow in conference and business travel so the added support from Qantas will provide another option for travellers to access the region.”
The new flights have also been welcomed by the Accommodation Association of Australia’s CEO Richard Munro.
“The return of Qantas to the Gold Coast is a vote of confidence for the many accommodation operators who are seeing a resurgence of interest in both domestic leisure and international travellers who are seeking a range of accommodation experiences which the Gold Coast offers in abundance,” he said.
“The city has recently seen the development of new properties, including Hilton Surfers Paradise, demonstrating that there is increasing demand in tourism on the Gold Coast that needs to be met.
“The new developments, along with the many existing spectacular accommodation offerings in and around Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach and Coolangatta, will derive significant benefits from the decision by Qantas to reinvest in this dynamic destination.
“Those who prefer full-service airlines – such as the Asian middle-class, together with international and domestic corporate travellers – will have plenty to smile about.”
Qantas is yet to announce a start date for the services, with “late October” currently being suggested by the airline.