Sunshine Coast Airport has joined forces with the Queensland Government, Alliance Airlines and Canberra Airport to launch a new service to Australia’s capital for the first time ever.

From 23 October, Alliance Airlines will provide two services a week between the Sunshine Coast and Canberra.

Tourism Minister Kate Jones said the deal – secured through the government’s $15 million Aviation Recovery Fund – would pump hundreds of thousands of dollars into local businesses.

“Tourism will be vital to the economic recovery of the Sunshine Coast. Flights pump cash back into local businesses and support local jobs,” Ms Jones said.

“We know there is a growing population in Canberra. To have direct flights between Australia’s capital and one of the state’s most important tourism destinations is a real coup.

“From next month, not only will this service provide direct connectivity between Canberra and the Sunshine Coast for the first time ever, but it will also connect Canberrans with Alliance’s new service from the Sunshine Coast to Cairns.

“That’s two brand new services Sunshine Coast Airport has been able to attract thanks to support from the Queensland Government’s $15 million aviation recovery fund.

“We know how important direct aviation access is to our tourism and events industry and this fund is allowing our airports to target services they believe will help drive our economic recovery.

“To date, our aviation recovery fund has supported nine services which are estimated to deliver more than $35 million for our economy and support more than 300 jobs.”

Sunshine Coast Airport Chief Executive Officer Andrew Brodie said the new destination meant the airport would now service the national capital for the first time ever, delivering up to 1600 seats a month.

“This exciting new route will drive tourism in both directions, with southerners seeking to escape the Canberra chill and flock north to our beautiful beaches, magnificent hinterland and vibrant beach towns,” Mr Brodie said.

“And of course it offers Sunshine Coast locals the chance to explore the cultural gems Canberra has to offer,” Mr Brodie said.

“Sunshine Coast is one of Australia’s largest regional economies, and this service will position us for continued economic growth and diversification by providing business travel connections for key industries including health, agriculture, education and government.”

Alliance Airlines Chief Executive Officer Lee Schofield said the airline was proud to launch a new direct service from the Sunshine Coast, thanks to the great relationship with Sunshine Coast Airport, Visit Sunshine Coast, Tourism Noosa and the Queensland Government.

“We are also extremely grateful to the team at Canberra Airport who have strongly supported this new service,” Mr Schofield said.

“Aside from providing a new direct flight for sun-starved Canberrans to travel to the Sunshine state, we expect this new service will be popular with the corporate and Government sectors, as well as with Queenslanders looking to head south to the snow next winter.

“This new flight also provides a same-plane service from Canberra to Cairns via the Sunshine Coast and vice versa, meaning this new service offers Canberra and region residents direct access to not one but two iconic Queensland destinations for the first time.”

Visit Sunshine Coast Interim Chief Executive Officer Craig Davidson and Tourism Noosa Chief Executive Officer Melanie Anderson said the flights were a welcome addition and expected they would attract a new market of visitors to the Sunshine Coast and Noosa regions.

“Canberra has traditionally been a strong market for the Sunshine Coast and because of our reputation for nature-based holidays, we think we can grow that market substantially,” Mr Davidson said.

“In the longer-term, having a direct flight from Canberra will also help grow the conference and business markets, as the Sunshine Coast expands its commercial, agricultural, IT and services sectors.”

“This is fantastic news for our region and will provide a much-needed boost to our economy. Noosa has long been a popular destination for Canberrans and we look forward to welcoming more visitors to Noosa,” Ms Anderson said.

Alliance Airlines launch fares between the Sunshine Coast and Canberra are on sale now until 2 October and start at $129 one-way including taxes. Regular fares commence at $169 one-way including taxes.

Fares between Canberra and Cairns via the Sunshine Coast are also available with a launch special of $249 one-way including taxes on sale now until 2 October. Regular fares start at $275 one-way including taxes.

All fares are inclusive of 20kg free checked baggage and are subject to availability. To book, visit www.allianceairlines.com.au or visit your local travel agent.

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