19 July 2023

Barr continues push for direct flights in latest visit to New Zealand

| Ian Bushnell
Join the conversation
Chief Minister Andrew Barr

Chief Minister Andrew Barr will continue efforts for an air link with New Zealand. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr is in Wellington for two days to participate in the annual Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum.

Trade and climate change will be on the agenda but Mr Barr will also take the opportunity to advance tourism between the two capitals, including his long-running campaign for direct flights.

READ ALSO Here’s what the government learnt about Canberrans by looking through our bins

Mr Barr flew out on Tuesday night (18 July).

The chief minister will meet with Wellington City Council to progress the Canberra-Wellington Sister City Agreement and future opportunities for collaboration on aviation, tourism and creative industries.

He will also meet with Wellington Airport in the next step to re-establish direct aviation connections between Canberra and Wellington.

This is Mr Barr’s third trip to New Zealand in as many years. Last year he visited Wellington and Auckland, as well as going on to Fiji, which bore fruit in the form of Fiji Airways announcing a Canberra-Nadi service earlier in the year.

The first flight out of Canberra Airport for Nadi takes off on Friday (21 July), marking the restart of international flights out of the national capital. Fiji Airways also announced last week that an additional flight day will be added from October in response to strong demand.

Mr Barr has said government, diplomatic and defence traffic would underpin the viability of direct flights to Wellington.

He remains hopeful that Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airways will return to Canberra, as well as Qantas flying to Singapore out of the national capital with its new aircraft.

READ ALSO CanTEST evaluation report highlights pill testing service’s success in reducing harm

A government statement said the 2023 forum would celebrate 40 years of closer economic relations and progress work towards net-zero emissions, free movement of goods and people across the Tasman, advancing the digital economy and innovation ecosystem, and enhancing engagement between Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific.

The forum would also include a dinner reception with New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and Finance Minister Grant Robertson.

The trip is expected to cost about $9000, to be met from the 2023-24 ACT Executive budget. The final cost will be reported as part of the regular travel reports.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

I would have caught 6 International flights in and out of Canberra. Every flight was no more than a quarter full. One had maybe a dozen passengers.

I travel between Wellington and Canberra very regularly for over a year and have lived in Wellington for 25 years before moving to Canberra. I have used the Singapore service during the short time it lasted but I just do not see the numbers to sustain this connection unless they treat Trans Tasman as domestic flights with the resulting lower costs for the airlines. I think Qantas is trying Embraer E190 and later Airbus A220 to connect Wellington to Brisbane Trans Tasman instead of 737. This is much more appropriate for the lower numbers of us going back and forth between two small sub 500K people cities.

Absolutely no coverage of this in New Zealand. There will be no direct flight between Canberra and Wellington, the airport fees at Canberra airport are ridiculously high. Barr is a joke.

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.