From the Big Pineapple to the Big Banana – direct flights are “big” news for these iconic holiday destinations

From the Big Pineapple to the Big Banana – thanks to the latest Bonza route unveiled yesterday, travellers can now fly directly between the Sunshine Coast and Coffs Harbour.

By Sunshine Coast Airport

21 April 2023

MEDIA RELEASE

From the Big Pineapple to the Big Banana – direct flights are “big” news for these iconic holiday destinations

Thanks to the latest Bonza route unveiled yesterday, travellers can now fly directly between the Sunshine Coast and Coffs Harbour in just over an hour, saving time and money and removing the need for a five-hour car trip.

As Bonza continued their rollout of first flights, yesterday they took to the skies heading for Coffs Harbour, another much loved Australian destination, known not only for its beautiful beaches and the famous Big Banana but its laid back coastal vibe and the only place in NSW where the Great Dividing Range meets the ocean.

Woman smiling while coming down plane stairs holding a Bonza thumb.

In 2021 the Coffs Coast was globally recognised as an ECO Destination, celebrated for its diverse cultural community, committed to balancing sustainable practices with first-class, nature-based visitor experiences. And given both Sunshine Coast Airport and Bonza’s commitment to sustainability, this new route is sure to become a favourite among travellers wanting to minimise their carbon footprint when opting to travel.

Sunshine Coast Airport CEO, Andrew Brodie said this route is great news for holiday makers and also for the surf life saving community who will be heading to the Sunshine Coast in April next year for the highly contested Australian Surf Life Saving Championships.

“While we expect these flights to be popular with holiday makers and people visiting family and friends we know that the commencement of this new route between the Sunshine Coast and Coffs Harbour will entice many of the 6000 volunteer surf life savers that will compete in next year’s event, to catch a direct Bonza flight instead of driving.

“Coffs Harbour is a much loved holiday destination but I expect, as has happened with other routes, we will see savvy business operators from both destinations looking to collaborate and find synergies that will benefit both regions.

Bonza flight attendant juggling pineapple and bananas.

“These Bonza flights, into previously unserviced regional areas, are not only benefitting the tourism sector but we are also hearing about the opportunities that have been created across other industries including health, food and agribusiness and professional services with people keen to explore the potential which is really exciting to see.

“By making air travel affordable and accessible we are removing the barriers to travel giving people greater choice. The impact will be felt right across the east coast of Australia and will be reflected in the increase in passenger numbers arriving into the Sunshine Coast.

“You can now travel between the Sunshine Coast and Coffs Harbour in a little under an hour starting from just $49 per person one way, with some celebratory fares from $29. With more than 38,000 seats available between the two destinations, it really is a win for both regions.

Man holding Bonza thumb smiling.

Bonza CEO, Tim Jordan was at Coffs Harbour to greet the flight and said, “From yesterday, Aussies can ditch the 11-hour round car trip for less than a tank of fuel as we continue to give the many, and not the few, access to air travel.

“The two big quirky landmarks are not the only draw cards with both regions sharing an abundance of beaches, treetop adventures and wildlife wonders. Our schedule means you can take a long weekend in either destination and explore something new.”

The first inaugural flight between the Sunshine Coast and Coffs Harbour is one of 13 destinations Bonza will service from their home base on the Sunshine Coast and will operate two times per week including a Thursday to Sunday option for SE Queenslanders wanting a mid week getaway.

With Bonza anticipated to bring an additional 772,000 seats to the Sunshine Coast and generate an estimated $86million in domestic visitor spend in the first 12 months, bringing the Airport Master Plan 2040 to life is a priority for Mr Brodie.

Woman ziplining hold a Bonza thumb.

“We are embarking on a period of significant growth and change which will benefit all of SE Qld and we are only just getting started. The first stage was completed in June 2020 when we opened the new longer and wider runway and over the coming years our domestic terminal will double in size, there will be an expansion of the Aerospace Precinct and our Southern Gateway will start to take shape.

“In fact, we will be investing up to $1B in infrastructure which will have a significant impact on the regional economy. We will create jobs, attract investment and support the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games. We are building a legacy for generations to come and the Sunshine Coast Airport will play a pivotal role in firmly putting the Sunshine Coast on the map as a destination for business and pleasure.

“Our partnership with Bonza is an important milestone in our long term plans for Sunshine Coast Airport which will see us welcome greater volumes of travellers, opening up opportunities not previously available.

“We cannot wait to welcome visitors from across Australia traveling on these brand new routes,” Mr Brodie said.

Coffs Harbour Airport GM Frank Mondello shaking Bonza passengers hand.

About Sunshine Coast Airport
Forecast to welcome 1.5 million passengers in 2022/23, Sunshine Coast Airport is one of the fastest growing and was the first Airport in Australia to hold Level 3+ Carbon Neutrality status. When the airport is fully developed, total direct employment at the Airport is expected to grow from 530 to 1300 direct jobs. The Airport will also support up to 5,500 jobs and inject up to $396 million annually to Queensland’s GSP in the tourism and supply chain industries once development is completed.

Sunshine Coast Airport Pty Ltd operates and manages Sunshine Coast Airport, the gateway to the Sunshine Coast and Noosa regions, under a 99-year lease from Sunshine Coast Council which commenced in December 2017.

Sunshine Coast Airport will service 16 destinations including Adelaide, Albury, Auckland, Avalon, Cairns, Coffs Harbour, Mackay, Melbourne, Mildura, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Rockhampton, Sydney, Tamworth, Townsville and Whitsunday Coast.

ENDS

For further information:
Contact: Sunshine Coast Airport Corporate Communications
[email protected]
(07) 5373 1901

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