Arrival of first Jin Air flight from Korea the start of something big
Cairns has become the first city in Australia to welcome a flight from Korea via the Jin Air airline, with hopes the seasonal service will grow into a year-round affair.
The first ever Jin Air flight from Korea into Australia has touched down in Cairns in the latest exciting boost for the local economy.
Politicians and airport officials joined Korean diplomats on the tarmac to welcome the arrival of the inaugural flight at about 7am this morning.
This morning's arrival was a year in the making, with Cairns Airport CEO Norris Carter confident the current seasonal arrangement of 16 return flights through to mid-February was just the start of a "long and successful partnership".
Korea is a growing market for Cairns, with the airport recording a 25 percent increase in Korean visitors arriving on international services during the year ending October 2016.
Mr Norris said the airport was "honoured" to welcome the first Jin Air flight into Australia.
“When we met with Jin Air over a year ago to discuss potential flights to Cairns they were very keen to establish a direct connection for South Korean people to arrive into our Northern Australia gateway to experience the Great Barrier Reef," he said.
"They were also impressed with the excellent domestic network that Cairns offers, giving visitors the opportunity for convenient travel to other parts of Australia.
"We have already discussed a further seasonal service operating later in 2017 and for that to lead on to a year round service. We sincerely thank our tourism partners, Tourism Australia, Tourism and Events Queensland and Tourism Tropical North Queensland for their support in bringing Jin Air to Cairns.”
Tourism Australia managing director John O’Sullivan said South Korea was Australia’s fastest growing inbound market in 2016.
“The work that’s been done in market in the past few years is really starting to pay dividends,” Mr O’Sullivan said.
“Future growth in this vital market is heavily dependent upon improving aviation access and securing additional capacity, which is why Jin Air’s new services to Cairns are so important.
"Tourism and Events Queensland and Cairns Airport should be warmly congratulated on the work they’ve put into securing such a great tourism outcome for Tropical North Queensland’s tourism industry,."