The first direct flights between Canada and Queensland will get underway next year bringing 12,000 extra visitors and a more than $24 million annual boost to the economy.
Minister for Tourism and Major Events Kate Jones said the Palaszczuk Government had secured the Air Canada service between Vancouver and Brisbane through the Attracting Aviation Investment Fund (AIFF).
“The Air Canada service is the first direct flight between Queensland and Canada and is expected to inject $24 million in visitor expenditure for Queensland’s economy each year,” Ms Jones said.
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“From June 2016, the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner will operate three direct flights a week bringing 12,000 passengers each year and cutting travel times by five hours.
“The new direct route better connects the state with the growing North American market, which recorded significant growth in visitation in the year ending December 2014.
“These new flights from Canada are a great win for Queensland and will help drive tourism growth, strengthen small businesses and support around 380 jobs.”
Brisbane Airport Corporation CEO Julieanne Alroe said the announcement of the new direct service between Brisbane and Vancouver was an achievement worth celebrating.
“Attracting new airlines to new destinations is hugely competitive and we’re thrilled to welcome Air Canada, one of North America’s leading airlines, which has committed its flagship aircraft to Queensland,” Ms Alroe said.
Air Canada President and CEO Calin Rovinescu said: “Air Canada continues to strategically expand its international network with the addition of our second Australian destination – Brisbane, complementing our year-round, daily flights from Sydney.
“The operating economics of the Dreamliner together with the support from the Queensland Government and Brisbane Airport have enabled us to launch the only year-round flights between Brisbane and Canada.”
Managing Director of Tourism Australia John O’Sullivan said additional aviation capacity between Canada and Australia would be warmly welcomed by the tourism industry.
“Inbound tourism from Canada is currently growing at around 6% and with the introduction of direct flights between Vancouver and Brisbane we certainly hope to see further increases on the 140,000 or so Canadian travellers that visited Australia during 2014,” Mr O’Sullivan said.
“Queensland has always been popular amongst our North American visitors and we’re confident that there will be good uptake of the new service, which offers all-important direct connectivity.”