More flights from Japan to Cairns expected
LOW-cost carrier Jetstar is expected to announce today extra direct flights from Osaka to Cairns.
Last night the airline would not reveal details of an announcement to be made at Cairns Airport this morning by Jetstar Australia and New Zealand chief executive officer David Hall with airport chief executive officer Kevin Brown and Tourism Tropical North Queensland sales and marketing director Brian Hennessy.
But The Cairns Post understands it will be about additional flights to Osaka which the airport and TTNQ has been lobbying for. Both organisations want daily flights from the Japanese city.
Currently the airline flies to Osaka four times a week during the peak season as well as twice a week in the off-season.
The extra flights come as passenger numbers from Osaka rose 17 per cent last month.
Mr Hall is bringing his leadership team to Cairns today for what the airline terms "a strategy day."
"The heads of commercial, engineering and other units in the airline will gather this week to discuss plans for the low-fares carrier," an airline statement said.
Jetstar employs more than 150 people in Cairns which it describes as ``a key port for the airline for domestic and international passengers.''
Last week it revealed it would be replacing the A330 aircraft which fly to Osaka and Tokyo with the new hi-tech Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes either late this year or in 2014.
The Japanese market is on the rise after the fallout from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disasters.
Mr Brown said improving business conditions in Japan were giving people the confidence to again travel overseas.
He said more Japanese were coming to Cairns via Osaka while more Australians were travelling to Japan to ski.
It is also believed Jetstar Japan's domestic flights are feeding passengers onto the Cairns flights.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland chief executive officer Rob Giason said there were "encouraging signs" from the Japanese market and the region was on target to restore numbers to 200,000 a year.
It now falls behind China (102,000) with about 91,000 a year but a three-month campaign worth $500,000 was about to start in Japan, targeting the older demographic.
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High times: Jetstar are expected to announce extra direct flights from Osaka to Cairns today.