Australia’s national carrier Qantas will offer direct flights to Kangaroo Island from Adelaide and Melbourne, in a major coup for one of the State’s premier tourism destinations.
The flights will commence from December this year, as part of an agreement between Qantas, the State Government, Kangaroo Island Council and Adelaide Airport Limited.
Qantas will offer three flights per week from Adelaide, increasing to five times per week during the peak summer period through to Easter.
There will also be three flights per week from Melbourne during the summer holiday season.
The State Government is supporting the agreement through joint marketing with Qantas, via the South Australian Tourism Commission.
The flights are possible thanks to the Government’s $9 million contribution toward the upgrade of the KI Airport at Kingscote, matched by Federal Government funding, which is due to be completed in November.
The Qantas flights will complement existing air services offered by Regional Express (Rex) and the ferry service run by SeaLink.
Kangaroo Island had 138,000 overnight visitors in the past year, injecting more than $119 million into the South Australian economy. About half are from South Australia, 22 per cent are from interstate and 29 per cent are from overseas.
The State Government committed $9 million toward an upgrade of the KI Airport at Kingscote.
The main runway is being extended and a new terminal building will be built with the ability to handle security screening. Works are expected to be finished in November.
The Government also backed the $5.8 million Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail, which opened last year and was ranked third on Lonely Planet’s list of top new travel destinations for 2017. Currently, $171 million worth of projects are either proposed or approved on KI.
Quotes attributable to Premier Jay Weatherill
I am delighted that Australia’s iconic ‘flying kangaroo’ has announced that it will start flying to its namesake, Kangaroo Island in December.
Kangaroo Island is already one of our State’s most popular destinations and now thousands more people from South Australia, interstate and overseas will get to experience one of our great natural wonders.
The Island is world-renowned for its premium food and wine and is the ultimate taste of Australia for visitors with its abundant wildlife.
Tourism is one of our State’s great growth industries and our partnership with Qantas will deliver even more jobs and economic growth for South Australia.
Quotes attributable to Tourism Minister Leon Bignell
This announcement is fantastic news for Kangaroo Island - which stands to reap major rewards from being directly accessible from Melbourne and Adelaide with Qantas.
We have put an additional $70 million into the tourism sector to market Kangaroo Island and the rest of South Australia to Australia and the world.
Kangaroo Island offers some of the most stunning scenery in South Australia as well as a diverse range of tourism experiences – from camping to high-end luxury that has been praised around the world.
Quotes attributable to QantasLink Chief Executive Officer John Gissing
We’re excited to be adding a new destination to our network, and we look forward to encouraging Australian and international travellers to explore all that Kangaroo Island has to offer.
Kangaroo Island is just a short hop away from the mainland. With natural beauty and unique wildlife, the Island has huge potential for growth as a tourism destination and is a fast-growing premium travel market.
Our flights will make Kangaroo Island more accessible, saving travel time and providing a new opportunity for our 11 million frequent flyers to use their points.