Korean Air will restart direct flights to Brisbane five times a week from April 23, adding 89,000 inbound seats a year into Brisbane and delivering up to $120.5 million annually in overnight visitor spending.
The latest aviation coup is the result of the Queensland’s $200 million Attracting Aviation Investment Fund (AAIF) which launched a year ago and has so far has secured more than 1.1 million inbound international seats and has landed 15 new or restarted international services.
Other recently secured services include EVA Air restarting four flights per week in the first year from Taipei to Brisbane, expanding to five in the second year, and six weekly services by the third year and Philippines Air growing to five flights per week over two years from Manilla to Brisbane.
Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said aviation is critical to Queensland’s international tourism recovery.
“That’s why we’ve partnered with Queensland’s four international airports on a $200 million post-Covid aviation war chest,” he said.
“We’re getting results, but securing international flights is one part of a much bigger picture including Tourism and Events Queensland’s ongoing promotion of Queensland destinations overseas.
“We know there’s more work to do on rebuilding airline capacity and Queensland’s $6 billion international tourism industry.”
Brisbane Airport Corporation executive general manager of aviation Ryan Both said during December and January, international travel at the airport was back to 61 per cent of pre-Covid levels.
“We still have a way to go to rebuild our network…but compared with one year ago when we were at just 2 per cent capacity, we have come a long way,” he said.
“There remains a shortage of aircraft and flight crew so every time a jet becomes available, we are competing with cities across the globe for that new service. This fund helps give Queensland the edge at a time when every flight means more local jobs and more Queensland exports.”
Cairns Airport CEO Richard Barker said they are grateful for the support received from the fund so far.
“International passenger figures remain at approximately 45 per cent of pre-Covid, with 6,800 passengers per week passing through the international terminal,” he said.
“With international airline capacity from key markets to Cairns slow to return, we are cautiously optimistic we may reach 60 per cent by the peak winter season.”
Sunshine Coast Airport CEO Andrew Brodie said direct international connections are critical for the future growth of the Sunshine Coast and wider region.
“International connections will have far reaching benefits for the region and we look forward to working with government to identify opportunities that will bring international visitors directly into the Sunshine Coast and support the airport’s role as the third gateway airport for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games,” he said.
Tourism and Events Queensland CEO Patricia O’Callaghan said international visitors stay longer and spend more.
“We’ve been working hard since international borders re-opened to reconnect with the international trade distribution system as well as keep Queensland top of the list in a very competitive environment,” she said.
“TEQ has rapidly returned to a significant international marketing schedule working with airlines, trade partners and Tourism Australia to bring international visitors back to Queensland.
“Supported by the AAIF program, there is partnership right across Government and the industry to see these valuable markets return.”