International flights have town buzzing

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Jakeb WaddellBroome Advertiser

Broome has been busy rolling out the welcome mat as the tourist town gears up for its first international flight in nearly two decades.

In just 10 weeks, four return Singapore to Broome flights will begin, signalling the return of overseas services, which last operated from the town in 2001.

Four Boeing 737s, which can carry 150 economy and 12 business-class passengers, will be used by Silkair, the regional arm of Singapore Airlines, on May 22, May 26, May 29 and June 2.

Broome International Airport has poured resources into infrastructure upgrades in preparation, including a new illuminated “welcome to Broome” sign on display to visitors on arrival.

New toilets are being built for the international departures lounge and construction work is planned in coming weeks to allow Border Force to process arriving and departing passengers efficiently.

BIA chief executive Paul McSweeney said the upgrades enabled the timely processing of overseas passengers and ensured their time spent at the airport was comfortable.

He said the airport was planning further upgrades, including a new international arrivals terminal, should the overseas service become regular.

“A direct flight between Singapore and Broome opens the town up to the rest of the world due to Singapore being a major aviation hub,” he said.

“It allows international visitors to begin their Australian adventure in Broome and opens up a new opportunity for Broome business operators to showcase their products or services to the Singaporean market.”

Broome Chamber of Commerce and Industry officer Elaine Jolliffe encouraged the business community to plan ahead to prove the business case for a regular international service.

“We are hoping to see retail and tourism businesses prepare and participate in the success of these trial flights,” she said.

North West Tourism chief executive Glen Chidlow said the flights to Broome were being promoted through agents in Singapore.

“There is an extraordinary tourism growth out of the Asian region and these flights are an excellent opportunity for Broome and the Kimberley to tap into this market,” he said.

Mr Chidlow said seats to Singapore were still available and encouraged residents to visit the Broome Travel Centre to book flights.

Bookings are not available on the SilkAir website because of the nature of the trial flights.

The trial was announced in November and resulted from a partnership between BIA, ANWT, SilkAir and the Shire of Broome.

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