Lion City link ready for take-off

Broome Advertiser - - News - Glenn Cord­ing­ley and Jakeb Wad­dell

The years have turned into months, and the months into days as Broome counts down to its first in­ter­na­tional pas­sen­ger flights in nearly two decades.

The last over­seas air ser­vice left Broome In­ter­na­tional Air­port for Bali in 2001 and the trial flights start­ing this month from the Kim­ber­ley town to Sin­ga­pore have been years in the mak­ing.

They have been made pos­si­ble through part­ner­ship with Australia’s North West Tourism, BIA, the Shire of Broome, Tourism WA, Tourism Australia and the re­gional wing of Sin­ga­pore Air­lines, Silkair.

The ul­ti­mate aim is to make them per­ma­nent.

The ad­van­tages are twofold — ex­pos­ing the Asian mar­ket to tourism ex­pe­ri­ences in Broome and across the re­gion, while giv­ing peo­ple from the Kim­ber­ley town di­rect ac­cess to the Lion City and its world­wide con­nec­tions.

The added bonuses for Broome pas­sen­gers would be less time in the air with a four-hour non-stop flight and no tran­sit time in Perth.

BIA chief ex­ec­u­tive Paul McSweeney said ticket sales had been en­cour­ag­ing but seats were still avail­able in the pe­riod lead­ing up to the flights leav­ing Broome on Tues­day, May 26, May 29 and June 2.

“The air­port has worked closely with Aus­tralian Bor­der Force to en­sure it has the in­fra­struc­ture ready to ser­vice the flights,” he said.

“My team that has worked tire­lessly to en­sure ev­ery­thing is ready well ahead of the ar­rival of the his­toric first flight and I am very proud of them”.

Mr McSweeney said a de­ci­sion on whether the flights con­verted to a reg­u­lar ser­vice would be made af­ter the trial.

But he was en­cour­aged by a cru­cial trend show­ing that about 70 per cent of the tick­ets pur­chased so far were Sin­ga­pore pas­sen­gers head­ing to Broome.

“This inbound mar­ket is prov­ing to be a huge bonus for lo­cal busi­ness and also pro­vid­ing a won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity to show­case the amaz­ing Broome and Kim­ber­ley brand to the rest of the world,” Mr McSweeney said. Australia’s North West Tourism chief ex­ec­u­tive Glen Chid­low said many new doors of op­por­tu­nity were al­ready open­ing. “Broome busi­nesses have al­ready es­tab­lished re­la­tion­ships with agents and whole­salers in what is pri­mar­ily a new mar­ket, but one that is on our doorstep,” he said. “And while Sin­ga­pore is the pri­mary tar­get for this se­ries of flights, the long-term goal is to open a gate­way to the Kim­ber­ley that fun­nels vis­i­tors from a num­ber of in­ter­na­tional mar­kets by cap­i­tal­is­ing on Changi (Sin­ga­pore) Air­port’s hub ca­pa­bil­ity.”

Broome Shire pres­i­dent Harold Tracey said the com­mu­nity should support the trial flights.

“As a re­flec­tion of just how im­por­tant this op­por­tu­nity is, the Shire of Broome has com­mit­ted up to $90,000 to un­der­write the re­turn legs of the flights not in­cluded in the Sin­ga­pore to Broome travel pack­ages,” he said.

“We’re also very grate­ful for the work that’s been done to get this flight trial off the ground.”

Pic­ture: AP

SilkAir will fly Broome’s first in­ter­na­tional pas­sen­ger flights in nearly two decades.

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