New Zealand

Sunshine Coast prepares for Kiwi surge as direct flights resume

Record Kiwi winter visitors expected with Air New Zealand's direct Sunshine Coast service relaunch


The Sunshine Coast is gearing up for a record influx of New Zealand visitors this winter with the return of Air New Zealand’s direct flights between Auckland Airport and Sunshine Coast Airport starting June 26.

Executives from Visit Sunshine Coast (VSC) and Sunshine Coast Airport (SCA) were in Auckland this week for meetings with Air New Zealand and major trade partners to prepare for the recommencement of this highly anticipated service.

Dan Wright, Tourism Australia | Rachael Titter, Air New Zealand | Dave Nicholson, World Travellers | Jeremy O’Brien, Air New Zealand | Matt Stoeckel, Visit Sunshine Coast | Tanya Carey, Air New Zealand | Emily Zinowki, Visit Sunshine Coast | Hayley Daffurn, Air New Zealand | Chris Hunter, Helloworld | Julia Bozich, House of Travel | Carl Jones, Sunshine Coast Airport | Sarah Radtke, House of Travel | Jake Cosmai, Sunshine Coast Airport | Heidi Walker, Flight Centre

Following a successful run in 2023, the Sunshine Coast team is optimistic about attracting a record number of Kiwis in 2024. The seasonal service will operate throughout the winter, coinciding with peak times for foodie events in the region with The Curated Plate festival being staged from July 26 to August 4.

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It is also a prime time for adventure lovers, with Mooloolaba one of Australia’s leading ports for whale watching, swimming with whales and even whale listening experiences.

The Air New Zealand flights will continue until October, providing ample opportunity for New Zealanders to explore and enjoy the Sunshine Coast. Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Matt Stoeckel expressed enthusiasm about the relaunch, highlighting the strong connection between the Kiwi market and the Sunshine Coast.

He said: “We will continue to work with the Air New Zealand team as well as our trade partners to make the most out of the seasonal service and drive extra business to the region.”

Scott Norris, General Manager Aviation and Commercial at Sunshine Coast Airport, echoed Stoeckel’s sentiments, noting the significant tourism and business opportunities the direct service brings. He said the return of Air New Zealand would unlock both high-value tourism and business opportunities for the region.

He said: “The trip to Auckland with VSC has been incredible and I am excited to see Air New Zealand touch down at Sunshine Coast Airport again next week.

“Every year we see thousands of New Zealanders choosing to fly directly to the Sunshine Coast, and with more than 17,000 seats available between the two destinations this season, we are expecting big things again in 2024.”

The relaunch of Air New Zealand’s direct service is expected to boost the local economy by attracting high-value tourism and fostering business opportunities, reinforcing the Sunshine Coast’s position as a top destination for New Zealand travellers.

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