Singapore flights still a top priority: Broome airport CEO
Major players behind a potential direct link between Broome and Singapore that would transform the town’s economy have quashed rumours the route has been permanently scrapped.
A series of trial flights between the two destinations was rolled out during the peak tourism season the previous two years.
In a statement released this afternoon, Broome International Airport chief executive Paul McSweeney said establishing a permanent route between the Kimberley town and Lion City remained a priority, but extensive terminal redevelopments had posed difficulties for a 2020 trial.
The $14 million terminal upgrade, the largest in the Broome hub’s history, was due for completion in mid-2021 and includes improved passenger screening, air-conditioned arrivals area and expanded departures and check-in facilities.
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Despite this, Mr McSweeney said a taskforce had already travelled to Singapore earlier this year to discuss options for 2021.
“International flights have significant logistical requirements above that required for domestic flights, and the effects of this year’s construction program have unfortunately meant it is not feasible to operate the services in 2020,” he said.
“Conversations continue to progress well with all parties showing strong interest for 2021.
“The success of the first two trials, and the ongoing interest in the route, has excited us and recent meetings have indicated a need to expand the schedule so as to be more attractive to the European market.”
Regular flights between Singapore and Broome have been a long-held ambition for the local tourism sector, as the Lion City serves as an aviation hub to the rest of the world, including the Kimberley region’s traditional international markets in Europe and the United Kingdom.
Australia’s North West Tourism chief executive Natasha Mahar said the majority of the Kimberley’s visitors were from Europe.
“(Direct flights to Singapore) would enable greater access into Broome will be a significant boost for tourism in our region,” she said.
The 2018 and 2019 trials were a joint measure between BIA, ANWT, the Shire of Broome, Tourism WA and SilkAir, the regional branch of Singapore Airlines.
Last year’s four return flights were about 70 per cent full.
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