BUDGET airline Scoot touched down on the Gold Coast this morning for the first time making it the fifth international carrier for the city’s expanding airport operations.
The 400 passengers on Flight TZ6, who boarded in Singapore, were the first of an estimated 100,000 inbound arrivals the airline is expected to deliver each year.
The boost to the local economy is forecast to be around $65 million per year.
The Singapore Airlines-owned budget carrier will operate from its Singapore hub with connecting flights to Bangkok, Thailand and Tianjin, China.
It is offering fares as low as $88 one-way for the eight-hour journey between Singapore and the Gold Coast.
A clutch of politicians and tourism officials met the inaugural Scoot flight, which arrived an hour behind schedule. Poor weather en route was blamed for the delay.
“It is a very good day for the airport and Gold Coast Tourism. It opens up another hub for us,” says Gold Coast Airport chief operating officer Paul Donovan.
Virgin International, Jetstar, Air New Zealand and Air Asia X already fly internationally from the Gold Coast.
Tourism Queensland boss Anthony Hayes says Scoot’s maiden arrival has been 18 months in the making.
“There have been a lot of negotiations, a lot of good teamwork between Gold Coast Airport, Gold Coast Tourism, the State Government and Tourism Queensland, all putting money on the table and all putting the deal together,” he says.
“What we have found is that when we all work as one team, airlines are happier that way and we can usually get them across the line.
“It is a great opportunity for our operators, who have done it pretty tough over the past year or two through no fault of their own; it is nice every now and then to give people some good news.
Queensland Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey says Scoot will help further link Queensland to Asia.
“We are already experiencing massive growth in the Chinese market and of course Singapore is a critical hub that will link us to that Asian market,” she says.
The airport boasts almost 5.2 million passenger movements annually and its recently approved draft master plan predicts that will rise to 16 million by 2031.
Picture above courtesy James Morgan
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