Qantas carves out international flight options from Coast
SEAMLESS travel to and from Europe, Asia and America is about to become a reality for visitors and Coast residents currently running the Bruce Highway gauntlet.
Qantas is about to start its new direct morning service from Sydney from April 1.
The second daily service offered to the region by the renowned Australian airline was sparked by demand from business and leisure travellers wanting to fly direct to and from the Sunshine Coast.
The new service will depart Sydney at 10.30am and arrive on the Coast by 12.05pm (will arrive 11.05am until April 7, due to daylight saving) and depart the Coast at 12.45pm (11.45am until April 7, due to daylight saving) to land in Sydney at 2.30pm.
The flights have been scheduled to connect with 15 Qantas inbound flights that arrive to Sydney from Europe, Asia, America and New Zealand early morning.
It will also allow Coast residents to link with afternoon and evening international departures out of Sydney, and avoid having to run the Bruce Highway gauntlet to make international departures out of Brisbane.
The service will allow for convenient, single-ticket itineraries to the Coast for international visitors and get them to the region sooner.
"This is a very significant addition to the Sunshine Coast's flight schedule," Sunshine Coast Airport CEO Andrew Brodie said.
"As any Sunshine Coast resident knows, the vast amount of road works on the Bruce Highway has meant that travelling to Brisbane for domestic and international flights is often impacted by significant traffic delays and disruptions.
"The new direct Qantas services will save both time and worry for Sunshine Coast travellers planning overseas travel."
Ucango Travel and Cruise Maroochydore operations manager Gillian Connors said the flights would be a huge attraction for local travellers.
She said avoiding the gamble of getting a smooth run on the Bruce Highway would be a major relief.
"Anything that we can do to get people out of the Sunshine Coast to fly domestically or internationally, we do," she said.
She said they "do anything" to avoid a trip down the Bruce Highway to Brisbane, and even recommended travellers stay overnight in Brisbane if catching any flight before midday, such was the risk of missing a flight due to being stuck behind all too frequent highway crashes.
"If you have an international flight out of Brisbane and you're stuck in traffic, there's nothing you can do," Ms Connors said.
She said the through-baggage facilities would also be attractive to local travellers and international visitors, who would not have to worry about baggage while transiting between terminals, thanks to the single-ticket Qantas service.
QantasLink CEO John Gissing said the extra flights had been introduced to offer more choice for the increasing amount of visitors to the Coast.
"These extra flights are in response to feedback from customers, industry and community leaders on the Sunshine Coast," he said.
Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Simon Latchford said the new service was a "great vote of confidence in the region from Qantas".
"Inbound travellers want convenience," he said.
"They want to be able to leave London, Los Angeles, Singapore or Wellington knowing that they can travel on just the one ticket, without the need to change airlines.
"For many travellers, and especially conference groups, such seamless travel can be a game changer."
He said tourism numbers had grown considerably since Qantas returned to the Coast.