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Andrew Barr wants international flights into Canberra next year

By 26 March 2012 15

Andrew Barr is kicking off a campaign to get international flights into Canberra Airport in 2013:

Canberra’s push for international flights in 2013 will step up this month with the establishment of a taskforce to coordinate our city’s efforts.

The taskforce will comprise members drawn from the business and tourism sectors to work with Canberra International Airport and the ACT Government.

Now is the time for a Canberra team to come together to pitch to airlines to start direct international flights to and from Canberra.

In recent months, the ACT Government has been meeting with key stakeholders, and last month I visited New Zealand to hold initial discussions with aviation and airline representatives about future direct services.

Following meetings in with Air New Zealand, Wellington Airport and Positively Wellington Tourism there is a consensus that with the appropriate level of investment and collaboration we could attract significant levels of business and leisure travellers in both directions.

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15 Responses to
Andrew Barr wants international flights into Canberra next year
The Traineediplomat 6:38 am
26 Mar 12
#1

Goody …Wellington!!! wow happenin’ cities in both direction… I guess away games @ the Hurricanes is easier to get to.

madamcholet 9:10 am
26 Mar 12
#2

Weren’t there flights to Fiji around the time the runway was extended? Did they just quietly cease to exist? Wellington? Was that what came out of the hat first?

buzz819 9:16 am
26 Mar 12
#3

Ohh wow, internationaly flights actually coming to the Nations Capital, what a novel thought.

dungfungus 10:02 am
26 Mar 12
#4

The following is from an ABC News report of 16/3/12:

“Canberra Airport has recorded a significant drop in the number of planes and passengers using the site.

Federal Government figures for the last financial year show total aircraft movements fell by 23 per cent at the Canberra Airport, the worst decline in the country.

The national statistics show a 2.3 per cent increase in aircraft movements across 10 airports.

All airports also recorded an increase in passenger movements except Canberra Airport, which had a fall of 20,000 passengers when compared to the previous year.

During part of the 2010-11 financial year, Tiger Airways flights were suspended after the Civil Aviation Safety Authority revoked its permission to fly”

It appears this report has slipped under Mr Barr’s radar.

Chop71 10:03 am
26 Mar 12
#5

WTF Wellington? Why wouldn’t they pick Singapore or Auckland that have greater exposure to other international terminals.

EvanJames 10:30 am
26 Mar 12
#6

Decline in CBR airport use = 4% efficiency dividend, with travel being a big savings area?

Anyway, tell Singapore they can bring their jumbos in at 2am, and I’m sure we’ll have a few of those.

CitizenK 10:32 am
26 Mar 12
#7

We should see Wellington as a start, with others coming on stream soon after. There may in fact be lots of reasons for travel between Canberra and Wellington (government biz for one), and perhaps this can lead to a closer relationship between the two capitals — Sister city anyone?

Agree though that for this to succeed we need flights to holiday destinations…. where do most Canberrans holiday internationally at present? Anyone on the Task Force going to check that out?

dungfungus 10:37 am
26 Mar 12
#8

CitizenK said :

where do most Canberrans holiday internationally at present?

Tasmania?

dungfungus 10:44 am
26 Mar 12
#9

EvanJames said :

Decline in CBR airport use = 4% efficiency dividend, with travel being a big savings area?

Anyway, tell Singapore they can bring their jumbos in at 2am, and I’m sure we’ll have a few of those.

The efficiency dividend is a very likely explanation EJ but I know a lot of my colleagues who travel overseas every year and they start their journey from Canberra to Sydney Airport via Murray’s coaches who pick up and drop off as close to the Sydney International terminal as one can get and all for about $30 return. When the family drop them off and pick them up at the Civic Bus Terminal the parking doesn’t cost an arm and a leg either. Baggage collection is faster and more efficient too.

breda 12:59 pm
26 Mar 12
#10

Agree that price gouging on the uber-profitable Canberra/Sydney and Canberra/Melbourne routes are a huge disincentive to private travellers. Between the coach option and driving, the cost difference with flying is astronomical. Add in the requirement to be there long before your flight leaves, and onward travel to where you are actually going (which is rarely either Mascot or Tullamarine) and paying your own way to fly to these destinations is pretty unattractive.

The final straw for me was Virgin removing its jets and taking us back to the 1960s with prop craft.

I seem to remember reading that the Qantas Cbr -Syd/Mel routes are among the most profitable in the world (mainly due to government related business). Courtesy of taxpayers, pollies and senior public servants fly business class on these short hops, which nobody spending their own money would ever do. Today’s business class quote from Canberra-Sydney is $439, to Melbourne is $539. Thanks, taxpayers!

ActuAli 1:19 pm
26 Mar 12
#11

madamcholet said :

Weren’t there flights to Fiji around the time the runway was extended? Did they just quietly cease to exist? Wellington? Was that what came out of the hat first?

Yes, these were back in Winter 2004. The plan was to have them run each winter, but due to the lack of patronage, Qantas/AirPacific pulled the plug.

We took advantage of the direct flights in August 04 with our little one in tow. Having the direct flight was fabulous. As an added bonus (for us), the planes were only about half full, so we had plenty of room.

If they couldn’t get enough patronage to and from Fiji, what on Earth makes them think that Wellington will be any better?

harvyk1 2:14 pm
26 Mar 12
#12

breda said :

Today’s business class quote from Canberra-Sydney is $439, to Melbourne is $539. Thanks, taxpayers!

Breda, you don’t have to fly business class, in fact the large majority who do fly CBR-SYD and CBR-MEL do not. A cheap eccon flight can be as low at $50, and considering that from CBR-MEL is basically a 7 to 8 hour bus ride, or a 1 hour plane flight I’d say it’s money well spent, and truly worth it.

Even CBR-SYD has a charm about it, it is quicker than driving, esp if there is an accident on the M5, and there is no trying to find parking in the CBD, which can be both difficult and very expensive. So if your a solo traveler, it can be cheaper than driving.

Business class is not worth it between CBR and MEL (speaking from experience). Whilst yes the seats are nicer (although they are usually the convertible seats) and the food is more palatable, it’s only an hour.

As for direct international flights, well I never thought Fiji was a big market from CBR. It for the most part would be a leisure route, and whilst we do like holidays, it did require around 450 people per week to go on holiday to Fiji to make it a profitable route. We’re just a too smaller market for that, SYD is not a pain to get to (and being realistic it’s not really a pain to use either), and that give us the world.

If I was going to pick a destination for international flights, I would pick a hub like Singapore, where it can either be the destination, or it easily connects onto other Asian \ European flights, Auckland is also an option as it’s a possible destination, or it connects onto USA bound flights. Wellington bound flights only have Wellington as a destination. AFAIK all international flights from WLG are east coast Australia bound. Having one or two routes, which are typically going to be leisure routes (like Fiji) or business routes (like Wellington) which is to a destination that is typically not a hub, IMHO will never cut it with a population as small as CBR.

Deref 2:29 pm
26 Mar 12
#13

madamcholet said :

Weren’t there flights to Fiji around the time the runway was extended? Did they just quietly cease to exist?

Seemingly. I got talked into taking #2 daughter to Fiji on one of those deals (there’s a first and last time for everything). It turned to custard while we were there and getting home was a real PITA.

caf 4:35 pm
26 Mar 12
#14

Chop71 said :

WTF Wellington? Why wouldn’t they pick Singapore or Auckland that have greater exposure to other international terminals.

There is apparently a lot of Government travel between Canberra and Wellington., enough to fill the expensive seats – so they just need to convince enough holidayers to fill the cheap seats. Apparently.

Knows Best 11:07 pm
10 Oct 12
#15

Another Airport pie in the sky, just like flights to Singapore and Fiji. It will never happen!!!

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