Icing on the Cake for Sunshine Coast Airport

Image source: Contributed

Australia’ newest and only independent low-coast airline has already helped its home base at Sunshine Coast Airport receive sweet success and recognition from industry peers as Jennifer Swaine discovers.

All over the world, birthdays, weddings, christenings and other important milestones are celebrated with a customary cake taking centre stage as it is ceremoniously cut.

A celebratory cake will also make an appearance in the business environment to celebrate promotions, retirements and just about anything else worthy of a morning tea.

However, in the world of aviation, cakes are a very serious business, as I discovered while working with the Sunshine Coast Airport on the launch of the first flights for new airline, Bonza.

The tradition of cakes being used to celebrate the commencement of a new airline route started in 2007 by UK-based aviation publication anna.aero who ran a ‘Route of the Week’ competition. The shining star of the photos, submitted by the various airports as they vied for the title of ‘Route of the Week’ was the diversity of the cakes – and so ‘Cake of the Week’ was launched.

And while it might seem a bizarre ambition, when you ask those who work in aviation it becomes clear that this is a highly coveted and contested title and airports pull out all stops in order to win.

‘Cake of the Week’ is a world-wide competition, and the Sunshine Coast Airport is no novice at this, having been awarded the title numerous times.

In an industry that is fast paced and highly regulated, Sunshine Coast Airport CEO, Andrew Brodie said taking ‘Cake of the Week’ was great for team culture as it provides a unique way to recognise and celebrate the hard work, innovation, and progress that is happening at the airport.

“There are limited opportunities to enter ‘Cake of the Week’ because it is only done when a new route is launched,” he said. “It is something the whole team can get involved with and throw their ideas into the mix, because the cake has to incorporate iconic elements about the new destination. We need the creative input from everyone to give us the best shot at the title.”

Once the team have their ideas together they brief a cake maker. Being big supporters of using local suppliers wherever they can, the team at Sunshine Coast Airport reached out to local cake maker, Cake Yard who had previously baked them a winning cake in August 2021 for the recommencement of services between Auckland and Sunshine Coast.

However, this was not just going to be any cake. With Bonza initially introducing 13 new routes this cake had to be something special and include iconic elements representative of each of the regions they will service from the Sunshine Coast Airport.

Sunshine Coast Airport General Manager Corporate Communications Kylie Ezzy said although the competition was a bit of light fun for the team, a new route is of critical significance for the airport with the impact far-reaching.

“The commencement of the Bonza flights will bring an additional 772,000 seats into Sunshine Coast Airport and generate around $86 million in domestic visitor spend in the first 12 months of operation,” she said. 

“It also means the Sunshine Coast Airport is connected to more destinations than ever before which is a significant achievement in its own right.

“This cake will be the largest we have ever created, and this is fitting given we are launching 13 destinations which is a game changer for our region. It’s a significant occasion and the cake that was created by Cake Yard, is reflective of this,” Ms Ezzy said.

Armed with the brief, Cake Yard set about planning a cake that could accommodate so many elements.

The creative genius and cake creator behind Cake Yard, Samantha Nolan, was not phased by the task presented to her.

“I love the opportunity to use my creativity to create something uniquely special for every client and designing cakes for the airport is a lot of fun,” she said.

With a reputation for creating intricate novelty cakes, finished to perfection using her artistic air brushing skills, Samantha and her team delivered spectacularly, with a 60kg, seven-tiered cake featuring icons from every destination Bonza will fly to out of the Sunshine Coast – and every layer was completely edible (and delicious!).

From the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour to a guitar for Tamworth, the home of country music; and grapes in Newcastle – every element was carefully curated and meticulously executed. Crowning this masterpiece of a cake was the Big Pineapple herself.

Following the successful launch of Bonza’s first flight, where the cake was unveiled, the team submitted photos of the cake to be considered for coveted ‘Cake of the Week’ title and waited with bated breath. They were among entries being considered from all over the world and the stakes were high.

However, the team need not have worried as early Saturday morning word came through that the Sunshine Coast Airport had won another title to add to their mantle.

“A lot of work goes into launching a new airline and new routes, and the team works very hard to deliver at a high standard.” Mr Brodie said.

“Cake of the Week is a bit of fun but it’s symbolic of what we have achieved as a team so we accept the title with pride.

“The Sunshine Coast Airport is embarking on a period of significant growth and change which will benefit all of southeast Qld and we are only just getting started. 

“The first stage was completed in June 2020 when we opened the new longer and wider runway and over the coming years our domestic terminal will double in size, there will also be an expansion of the Aerospace Precinct and our Southern Gateway will start to take shape.

“We will be investing up to one billion dollars in infrastructure which will have a significant impact on the regional economy. We will create jobs, attract investment and support the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games. 

“We are building a legacy for generations to come and the Sunshine Coast Airport will play a pivotal role in firmly putting the Sunshine Coast on the map as a destination for business and pleasure.

“We cannot wait to welcome visitors from across Australia travelling on these brand-new routes – and there is plenty of cake for everyone!” 


Spring 2022: Flying High at Sunshine Coast Airport

Winter 2022: Turbo Charged

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