Chief Minister Andrew Barr will continue his bid to woo a Chinese airline to Canberra when he visits Hong Kong as part of his annual post-Budget trip to Asia to promote investment opportunities in the ACT.
Mr Barr will meet with Hong Kong Airlines during his annual Asian Investment Roadshow, in which he will present the Budget to investors in Singapore, Seoul and Hong Kong from 4-15 July.
A spokesperson said the Hong Kong meeting would be initial discussions in what the Chief Minister has called a medium to long-term project to attract more airlines to Canberra.
“The capacity of Canberra Airport, our large student population and our tourism attraction is all part of these discussions,” the spokesperson said.
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“The Government was working with Canberra Airport on attracting airlines both domestic and international to Canberra and we are hoping that they can attend the meeting with Hong Kong Airlines.”
Hong Kong Airlines has been a rising star with its growing network now covering over 30 cities regionally, including the Gold Coast, Auckland, Beijing, Shanghai, Bangkok, Bali, Taipei, Seoul, Tokyo, Sapporo and Okinawa, and more recently, Vancouver and Los Angeles.
Last year it was judged the second-best regional airline in the world by Skytrax.
The spokesperson said the Chief Minister had had previous discussions with China Southern and Cathay Pacific about direct international flights from Canberra, and Asia continued to be the number one source of the ACT’s international visitors.
“This has been accelerated by direct flights from Singapore. Canberra’s international student population is also a significant advantage,” he said.
The Government was also keen to re-establish the link to New Zealand and had held discussions with Air New Zealand recently.
Domestically, Mr Barr had recently held talks with Jetstar about starting a Canberra service and had also had discussions with Tiger Air in the past few months about increasing the number of flights to the capital.
“These discussions are ongoing, and the success of Tiger Air flights to Brisbane and Melbourne is a good indication that the capital should see more low-cost options for domestic air travel in the not too distant future,” the spokesperson said.
Canberra Airport said it was still to decide whether to send a representative to the Hong Kong talks.
Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airways are now running daily services to Singapore and Doha respectively out of Canberra.