China Eastern Airlines (CEA) business is booming with major new flight announcements heralding their commitment to the Australian market. The announcements coincide with the airlines 60th anniversary and 20 successful years of non-stop flights between Australia and China.
CEA will serve six mainland China cities from Sydney; Shanghai, Hangzhou, Beijing, Kunming, Nanjing and Wuhan by the end of January 2017, operating 58 flights weekly between the two countries. The rapid growth will see the introduction of new Boeing 777-300ER’s added to the Australian market.
Another Australian first, CEA will launch direct services from Sydney to Kunming and Hangzhou in November 2016. The Melbourne to Shanghai service will increase to double daily flights from November 2016 to February 2017. December 2016 will see the introduction of Brisbane to Shanghai flights, four times weekly. The Sydney to Shanghai service will increase to double daily flights from mid-December to February 2017. Sydney to Beijing services (codeshare with Qantas) will commence in January 2017*, along with the launch of a new Sydney to Wuhan route the same month.
“The new CEA routes reflect surging demand with a 23% growth in Chinese visitors to Australia in 2016. It brings an additional 3,003 seats a week between Australia and China, contributing significantly to local visitor expenditure. China is Australia’s largest source for tourists and China Eastern Airlines is geared up to service this demand”, said Kathy Zhang, China Eastern Airlines General Manager – Oceania. Our investment in new routes demonstrates CEA’s commitment to extending Australia’s tourism footprint to important secondary cities in mainland China. It deepens global business opportunities, as reflected by the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA), provides greater connectivity for passengers and directly connects two of the world’s most respectful cultures, acting as a gateway for Australia to the globe,” said Ms Zhang.
The new Boeing 777-300ER will feature on the Shanghai services from Melbourne and Sydney in 2016, offering a three-class configuration with a total seating capacity of 316 seats. The aircraft is outfitted with 6 first class open suites, 52 flatbed business class seats and 258 standard economy seats. All seats across each class on flights Australia to China are equipped with personal TV, Wi-Fi and AC power ports.
The CEA flagship lounge in Shanghai Pudong International airport offers first and business class guests exclusive access, along with complimentary Wi-Fi, traditional gourmet Shanghai cuisine and shower rooms. In Sydney, first and business class travellers will have access to the SkyTeam Alliance lounge, whilst in Melbourne and Brisbane, travellers will use the Qantas lounge.
CEA continues to consolidate its reputation as a global connector for business savvy travellers. The airline offers world-class service, the latest technology and amenities on-board the Boeing 777-300ER and visa-free transit valid for 144 hours for Australian passport holders who hold an onward ticket, transiting in Shanghai, Hangzhou and Nanjing. In addition, corporate business and first class guests can enjoy complimentary airport limousine pick-up services in Shanghai and Australia. The joint co-operation agreement with Qantas and alliance with SkyTeam members streamline CEA’s position as a truly global airline.
“These extra services highlight the fact that tourists from China are voting with their feet, coming to NSW in huge numbers to experience the best of what our state has to offer,” said Andrew Constance, NSW Minister for Transport and Infrastructure. “Chinese passengers represent our fastest growing and largest inbound visitor market, and we’re determined to ensure continued growth well into the future” said Mr Constance.