Tiger claws Coast market

LARGE increases in passenger numbers arriving at the Gold Coast Airport is set to continue, with a new flight from Sydney touching down for the first time yesterday.

The new Tiger Airways route touched down for the first time at Bilinga a day after the airport announced its November passenger numbers were up 12.22 per cent on the previous year.

Queensland Airports Limited managing director Dennis Chant said the Gold Coast continued to record positive growth.

“We have seen another great month with international passengers increasing by 71 per cent and domestic passenger by five per cent,” he said.

“In the past five months we have consistently seen total passenger movements at Gold Coast Airport exceed 400,000 and for each of the past three months we have seen an international passenger movements exceed 63,000.”

A total of 418,281 passengers touched down, including 355,266 domestic and 63,015 international.

Tweed Tourism general manager Phil Villiers said: “Tourism New South Wales have done a lot of marketing targeting that flying market in the last 12 months, as they see Gold Coast as the gateway to the Tweed and Northern Rivers areas.

“With the extra flights from Tiger it can only be a good thing for the Tweed and Northern Rivers areas.”

Mr Villiers said four or five years ago a study was done which showed eight to nine percent of visitors to the Tweed arrived by plane.

“I would love to say that figure has gone up 100 per cent since then, but until we get new figures I can’t really comment on that,” he said.

The new Tiger route should help allow the airport to continue its growth.

Tiger Airways communications manager Vanessa Regan said the Gold Coast Sydney route had proved incredibly popular.

“Our inaugural flight is near capacity and pre-sold seats on the Sydney to Gold Coast route have been so strong that we are doubling the amount of flights, from seven to 14 weekly services, from early February 2010,” she said.

From early February 2010, when Tiger Airways doubles the flight frequency on the Sydney to Gold Coast route, the airline will provide an additional 262,000 visitor seats annually in to and out of the Gold Coast and New South Wales.

Gold Coast Airport chief operating officer Paul Donovan said the time to travel has never been better.

“Gold Coast to Sydney has traditionally been our strongest performing domestic route thanks to ever-increasing passenger demand from both an inbound and outbound perspective. We look forward to welcoming additional summer holiday-makers to Gold Coast as a result of these additional services,” Mr Donovan said.

Gold Coast Tourism CEO Martin Winter welcomed Tiger Airways’ commitment to the Sydney to Gold Coast route.

“It demonstrates the popularity and sustainability of the Gold Coast as an ever-evolving destination,” he said.

“No doubt the summer holiday makers will also welcome the service and the value on offer, as the Gold Coast gets ready to turn on another splendid Australian summer.”

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