QantasThe Flying Kangaroo is taking the Apple Isle across the Pacific.

Tasmania has secured an extension of the code sharing agreement between American Airlines and Qantas, opening up direct Tasmanian itineraries to the lucrative market – with nearly 100 million American Airlines’ frequent flyers alone now able to see and book itineraries to Hobart.

Travellers booking a flight through American Airlines can now select Hobart as a final destination and purchase just one ticket.

The annoucement will build on the increasing market in the USA, which grew by 26 per cent to more than 30,000 in the year to March, and Canada, which grew by 11 per cent to more than 7,500.

Qantas International CEO Gareth Evans said Qantas was the largest private investor in Australian tourism and the biggest airline group to service the state.

Mr Evans said Qantas was committed to showcasing Tasmania as a global tourism destination.
“Qantas is incredibly proud to a play role in marketing the island state to a global audience,” said Mr Evans.

“Last year Tasmania saw a nearly 10 per cent increase in international visitors. This is the biggest growth in international travel and expenditure of any Australian state or territory.

“Qantas together with Tourism Tasmania plans to fuel this momentum with targeted marketing campaigns that promote the region, support major local events and encourage longer holidays.

“Qantas is working hard to meet demand with increased capacity, better scheduling and new codeshare arrangements that will see daily flights with American Airlines codes – making Tasmania a bigger drawcard for business and leisure travel than ever before.”

The deal and the visit from American Airlines Senior Vice President Kurt Stache – who was at the official announcement to business executives and community leaders at MONA – has been praised as a major victory for the Coordinator General John Perry, who worked as commercial lead on Atlantic Joint Business, a multi-billion-dollar joint venture between American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia and Finnair, before relocating home to Tasmania to take on the role.