FLYING KANGAROO JUMPS BACK INTO GOLD COAST MARKET

FLYING KANGAROO JUMPS BACK INTO GOLD COAST MARKET

QANTAS will resume domestic services to the Gold Coast four years after abandoning the route.

The airline will schedule three daily Boeing 737-800 return flights between the Gold Coast and Sydney from October 28, chief executive officer Alan Joyce announced today.

A club lounge will be opened at Gold Coast Airport after upgrade work later this year on a passenger lounge currently used by Qantas’ low-coast subsidiary Jetstar.

Qantas cut domestic flights to the Gold Coast in 2008, saying it was unprofitable. The airport is currently serviced by Jetstar, Virgin Australia and Tiger Airways, Air New Zealand, Air Asia X and Scoot.

Virgin began offering business class service to the Gold Coast a year ago and recently opened a business lounge at the airport. It boasts a 42 per cent market share of inbound domestic services after posting 7 per cent increase in capacity over the last year.

Joyce says resuming services to Australia’s six-largest city came after campaigning from industry and travellers. He says the airline will differentiate itself from rivals by offering a premium service, including its new Sky Interior which features touch screen in-flight entertainment for every passenger.

“Qantas will be the only domestic airline operating out of the Gold Coast which includes the convenience of a meal and checked in baggage for all passengers as part of the fare, no matter what time they are flying or which class they are travelling in,” says Joyce.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman welcomed the announcement at the airport today.

"The Gold Coast is a fast growing premium travel market. Now is the right time to get back into that market,” says Newman.

Gold Coast Airport chief operating officer Paul Donovan says the local business community had campaigned hard to a Qantas return.

“Both Gold Coast Airport and Qantas have watched the business market in the region continue to grow with a keen eye and believe the time is right for the airline’s return,” says Donovan.

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