In the 13 hours since the previous story was written, we've now learned of another blow to the Cairns Airport and Cairns tourism.
United Airlines, who've been flying to Cairns since 1998, will discontinue service to Cairns on October 1, 2015. This can easily be verified on the UA booking website. United is one of two US "mega-carriers", and a key in the Star Alliance. This leaves those frequent flyers who accrue points in this system with NO WAY of redeeming those points for a trip to Cairns.
This service was a major feeder for our Japanese tourism market. United services Cairns via Guam from a number of smaller Japanese cities including Fukuoka, Sendai, Sapporo, and Nagoya. United has been a major transporter of these Japanese to Cairns, and the loss of this service is going to dramatically decrease the Japanese tourist numbers in Cairns.
This has also been a popular service in bringing Americans, including the growing number of US Military in Guam and Hawaii, to Cairns for RnR.
United stepped up to help Cairns when Australian Airlines was closed by Qantas, and Qantas started stripping service out of Cairns. United increased service from two to five services per week in a strong expression of loyalty to the Cairns market.
United is thought to have been incurring huge increases in airport charges from CAPL and the service is no longer profitable or viable.
There would be many Cairns and other Australian residents who've booked ski trips using United to Sapporo for later in the year. They would be well-advised to look for other arrangement now, although the options are extremely limited.
But shit, we can always go to Bali cheap.