Jetstar to Start Flying Between Cairns and China

7th Oct 2015

After top-level talks he had with Qantas chief exec Alan Joyce, Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said that its low cost branch Jetstar could soon begin operating between this city and China.

Manning said:

"We'd have to work with Jetstar and Alan Joyce said he would support that. I came away from the meeting very encouraged by it."

However, a spokeswoman for Qantas declined to confirm this, instead saying:

"Cairns is an important market for the Qantas Group and we're always looking at new opportunities that reflect customer demands and travel trends. We regularly meet with councils across the country on a range of maters; however talk about new routes is just speculation."

According to Manning, there will be a lot of work required to make a direct flight operated by Jetstar successful mainly because of the great financial risk with flying to a completely new destination.

Right now, Jetstar flies several times per week from Cairns to Japan and Bali.

Chief executive at Tourism Tropical North Queensland Alex de Waal was also present at the meeting with Manning and Joyce. He said that there were discussions about additional domestic flights during the Chinese New Year, but also talks about "international opportunities".

A spokesperson for Cairns Airport also confirmed discussions with Jetstar about a Chinese route. She said:

"Yes, we continue to explore all possibilities."

Tourism Tropical North Queensland and Cairns Airport have been in talks with several Chinese carriers on bringing direct flights between Cairns and Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. At the present, both of these organizations are putting the final touches to a lucrative $18 million deal that will make Cairns a one-stop destination for tourists from China for the next 3 years.

Manning, who recently returned from a trade mission to Beijing and Shanghai, said the region needs to put more effort into bringing more travelers from China.