It was disappointing to learn this week that Tigerair has decided to cease its direct Melbourne-Townsville flight service from 1 August 2018. We understand this was purely a business decision based on Tigerair’s operational requirements.
Over the past 12 months, since this route was established, Townsville Enterprise has worked in close partnership with Tigerair, Townsville City Council, Tourism and Events Queensland and the Townsville Airport on several campaigns promoting the service and the Townsville North Queensland destination to southern markets. The campaigns didn't just deliver successful results for Tigerair, but also for the Jetstar Melbourne-Townsville service. Overall, the Townsville Airport has welcomed an increase of an additional 100,000 passengers in the last 12 months – inbound Tigerair passengers represent approximately 25% of that.
The additional inbound passengers this route delivered to Townsville provided a great boost to our regional economy, injecting an estimated $17.8M into the Townsville North Queensland economy from the 23,000 inbound passengers across the past 12 months. On top of the significant economic impact this flight service generated for our region, it also strengthened Townsville’s profile in the Melbourne market.
We have a proven model and case study from Tigerair to establish a strong strategic partnership with another airline going forward. This cancellation, especially off the back of Jetstar ceasing the direct Townsville-Bali service, highlights the critical priority of Townsville engaging in strategic partnerships with its existing airlines to ensure the region can meet demand requirements. This campaign is evidence of what cooperative and strategic marketing partnerships can achieve.
The Townsville Airport works tirelessly in attracting new flight services to the region, both domestically and internationally, and we will continue to work closely with the Airport, Townsville City Council, Tourism and Events Queensland and airlines on this priority. Establishing new routes and expanding on existing services remains a critical focus for our region and a key component of Townsville Enterprise's advocacy agenda.