The Sunshine Coast Daily advises Air New Zealand will commence twice weekly direct flights between the Sunshine Coast and Auckland from 1 July 2012 until 18 September 2012 as a trial.  If the A320 service is a success then Air NZ will commence a year round schedule.

The announcement follows three years of negotiations.  It is expected to provide easier access to the 80,000 to 100,000 New Zealand tourists who visit the region every year.  It is also expected to provide local Queenslanders better access to New Zealand and other connections on the Air NZ network.

Sunshine Coast Airport will establish customs, immigration and quarantine services ahead of the first flight - the first direct international commercial passenger connection to the region.  With this vote of confidence from the Australian Government it may not be the last service.

The Queensland Government in conjunction with the Sunshine Coast Regional Council have proposed a $420 million expansion of the Sunshine Coast Airport.  The plan includes the provision of a new 2430 metre runway, expasnsion of the RPT apron and a new terminal.  The works are planned to be completed by 2020 and are at the public comment stage.

Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion for copy of the Sunshine Coast Daily item.