China lift a flying start for Cairns
INDIA, Russia, Taiwan and South Korea are firming on the radar of Cairns Airport in the wake of successful direct flights from China.It comes as China Eastern announces it will operate three Shanghai services a week from July 23 until the end of the year.
The airline had been running twice a week since October last year, increasing to three during Chinese New Year festivities.
Cairns Airport chief executive officer Kevin Brown said he and his aviation development team would talk to airlines at a routes conference in Mumbai about flying direct to Cairns from India, South Korea and Taiwan.
While the airport has made Singapore its main priority, he said the Routes Asia 2013 forum would enable them to talk to other airlines.
He said he would also visit Shanghai to discuss with wholesalers the experiences of their passengers in Cairns, especially during the Chinese New Year.
"It's critical we don't take our customers for granted," Mr Brown said.
At a corporate Chinese New Year yum cha lunch at Cafe China yesterday, he said China Eastern's decision to fly three times a week to Cairns from July 23 to the end of the year was a promising sign. Mr Brown said daily flights were getting closer, possibly as early as a year away.
"Up to the end of April, China Eastern is quite full," he said.
"They would not be extending if they were not successful. Forward bookings are looking strong."
Mr Brown said passenger numbers were "healthy" at least 75 per cent with good numbers in business class as well.
He said the airport was meeting airlines in the Japanese capital Tokyo to discuss more flights with business confidence in Japan quickly improving.
"Our Japanese passenger numbers in January were up 15 per cent," Mr Brown said.
Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch, who has just returned from a parliamentary visit to Vladivostok, said the opportunities in Russia were enormous.
He said Cairns was 9.5 hours direct from Vladivostokand he would be urging the airport to pursue direct flights or a link via Korean Air's flights to Brisbane.
Mr Entsch said as well as tourism, other business included transporting fresh produce.
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