Air passengers to Norfolk Island boost tourism and economy

Some 30,000 people travelled to Norfolk Island as air passengers in 2018–19, boosting the Island's tourism activity and economic opportunities.

With the Australian Government committed to keeping the local community informed on services and trends, the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development has now released the second Airline Services for Norfolk Island fact sheet, summarising passenger data for the second half of the 2018–19 financial year.

Norfolk Island's regular passenger air services are underwritten by the Australian Government and provided by Air New Zealand (Air NZ), to support the local community and economy.

This arrangement keeps ticket prices within a specified range to protect travellers from price fluctuations resulting from fuel cost changes and other factors.

The majority of people who came to Norfolk Island during 2018–19 were tourists—73 per cent of total travellers—with the remainder of passengers visiting family and friends (8 per cent), coming for business (4 per cent), or Island residents (15 per cent).

Travellers coming to Norfolk Island from mainland Australia made up 94 per cent of all travellers in the past financial year. The next largest group over the period, at four per cent, came from New Zealand. Least common were travellers coming from Europe or other regions. Almost 80 per cent of visitors flying to Norfolk Island are aged 51 years and over.

Air NZ provides a core service of two flights per week from Brisbane and two flights per week from Sydney. In addition to the twice-weekly core service, there are three flights per week from mid-September to end-April between Sydney and the Island.

Air NZ started using the new A320neo aircraft on the Brisbane-Norfolk Island route in May 2019, with the new aircraft to be introduced on the Sydney route over the next year. The new aircraft provides the same capacity as the previous aircraft but with new seating and in-flight entertainment. Every Air NZ flight from Australia to Norfolk Island also has freight capacity. Air NZ prioritises air freight, such as medical supplies and mail. 

The airline actively promotes Norfolk Island as a destination through its website at www.airnewzealand.com.au/destination-norfolk-island. This site also contains additional information about airline services to Norfolk Island.

The Australian Government also subsidises additional dedicated air freight flights through its contract with TOLL. The schedule of the TOLL freight flights is available on the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development website at https://www.regional.gov.au/territories/norfolk_island/Norfolk-Island-Air-Freight-Services.aspx.

Growth of the Norfolk Island tourism industry continues to be a Government priority. The Air New Zealand and Unique Tourism Collection annual Norfolk Island briefing recently took place in Sydney on August 21, where I joined a range of Australian Government representatives, Norfolk Island Regional Council, Air New Zealand officials and key Norfolk Island and mainland industry partners to discuss recent statistics and trends and future marketing plans. Stakeholders agreed it is in everyone's interests to foster sustainable growth in tourism numbers to Norfolk Island.

Both fact sheets on airline services for Norfolk Island can be found at https://www.regional.gov.au/territories/norfolk_island/Norfolk-Island-Air-Services.aspx.

Eric Hutchinson
July 2019