Canberra-NZ flights in time for summer, proposed by ACT government | The Canberra Times

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Direct flights could connect Canberra to New Zealand in time for a busy summer tourist season, under a proposal to airlines put forward by the ACT government. Chief Minister Andrew Barr will travel to New Zealand next week to meet with counterparts from Wellington and Auckland to present a joint proposal to airlines to serve Canberra airport directly. “Our proposal would really be for the summer season. If we could organize something in time for Floriade it would be fantastic, but if it’s summer I think it will work well for us,” Barr said. Mr Barr said it was possible that two different airlines could connect Canberra to Auckland and Wellington, given the different size of the markets. “Clearly Auckland is a larger market and therefore would be better suited for a slightly larger aircraft. Wellington is a smaller market and would be better suited for a smaller aircraft. This could mean different airlines flying to Canberra and Wellington and Canberra and Auckland., “He said. “We will obviously have these discussions with the airlines, but they are reconfiguring their fleets to cope with the new aeronautical dynamics.” READ MORE: Mr Barr said he had good indications the New Zealand side was ready to find a way to make the proposal work. “These things work best when they’re both ways and both destinations are engaged,” he said. The ACT government has been lobbying New Zealand for a Canberra-Wellington travel bubble for the past few months. Earlier this year, Canberra Airport offered to be part of plans to allow quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and Australia. Canberra airport general manager Stephen Byron told the Canberra Times in March that he had discussed with Qantas, Virgin and Air New Zealand direct flights to New Zealand. Meanwhile, the ACT government has stressed that hotel occupancy rates are high, a sign that its efforts to attract domestic tourists are working. Canberra’s retail occupancy rate was 73.2% in April, above the national rate of 60.7%, according to data collected by the global STR group. Land use recovered from a low of 13.7% in April last year, when public health restrictions from COVID-19 shut down much of the travel industry. Barr also signaled that the ACT government may open more co-investment funds for tourism initiatives, which have been used to help the industry amid coronavirus travel restrictions. “They have been oversubscribed which gives us confidence that this is the right model and that it is worth investing again in the future,” he said. IN OTHER NEWS: Our reporters work hard to provide local and up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:

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