Friday, 14 October 2011

The Russians are coming to Cairns

Cairns pins tourism hopes on Russia flights

Nick Dalton
Friday, October 14, 2011
© The Cairns Post

The first Russian commercial airline to touch down in Cairns could be the start of more to come.

Cairns Airport has held talks with Vladivostok Air to discuss the possibility of additional charters. The Vladivostok Air Airbus A330 brought the first of three flights from Japan with 300 Japanese students on Tuesday. There are more flights on Sunday and Friday next week. Airport aviation business development manager Rob Evans said he and Tourism Tropical North Queensland Japan director Harry Niihori had constructive discussions with Vladivostok Air, as well as 10 other airlines, while in Japan last month.

They also spoke with Kansai Osaka Airport and Centrair Nagoya Airport, Nagoya City Council officials and major wholesalers in Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo. He said they were the first talks with the Russian carrier and not related to the Japanese charters. "It’s good to see a new tail at the airport. Russian carriers do not have the rights to fly regular schedules to Australia at present but charter flights are treated differently," Mr Evans said. He said the Russian traveller market had promising potential. "There is Russian interest from wholesalers and we will be keeping in contact with Vladivostok to see what can be explored."

The Japanese students are spending two days on a farm on the Tableland, aiming to improve their English and have an authentic Australian farm experience. They will overnight in Cairns and visit Kuranda as well. There are two other charters with a total of about 960 students from Oita plus teachers, escorts and other supervisors as part of this year’s JTB Cairns school excursion tours.

Mayumi Shinohara of JTB Cairns said JTB and another company was organising a Korean Air charter to bring Japanese holidaymakers to the region late in December for their winter holiday season. TTNQ is also negotiating to secure a series of charter flights to Cairns for the eclipse next year.

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