Christmas has come early this year with new direct China Eastern flights between Shanghai and Brisbane touching down this morning at Brisbane Airport (BNE) to a warm Queensland welcome led by Premier The Hon. Annastacia Palaszczuk.
The four times weekly flights, operating on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, establish a critical link between Queensland’s international gateway city and China’s biggest city and a global financial hub. The new connection is expected to bring some 18,000 additional Chinese visitors to Queensland per year.
Julieanne Alroe, Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) CEO and Managing Director, said today’s launch was an exciting finale to 2016 and a significant step for the city and state in positioning Brisbane as a major Asia Pacific centre.
“The Chinese visitor market is currently the second largest for Brisbane Airport, experiencing 19 per cent growth in the last financial year.
“These direct China Eastern flights will help grow this important market which will have flow on benefits for every sector of our economy, from business and investment to tourism, trade and education.
“As a major gateway to Australia we know that many international passengers arriving at Brisbane Airport also travel on to other Queensland regions by road or via our extensive flight network spanning 48 domestic destinations across Australia,” Ms Alroe said.
“When BNE’s New Parallel Runway becomes operational in just four short years it will deliver Brisbane Airport the most efficient runway system in Australia with similar capacity to Hong Kong and Singapore airports, providing even more opportunity to expand our network connections,” she added.
China Eastern Airlines is China’s second largest airline, Shanghai’s home carrier and one of the ‘Big 3’ national airlines of China with a fleet of more than 440 aircraft. It offers a premium full service product trusted by high yielding Chinese business and leisure travellers who now spend $1.2 trillion globally on tourism.
Regular direct flights into Brisbane will help capture a portion of this substantial market and direct visitors to some of Queensland’s most desirable tourist destinations via BNE’s comprehensive regional network, the largest of any airport in Australia.
China Eastern will operate one of its new modern Airbus A330-200 aircraft on the route with the new services leaving Brisbane at lunch time and arriving into Shanghai at 8:00pm, with return flights operating overnight to arrive back in Brisbane at 10:05am.
From its base at Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport, China Eastern’s network connects travellers to every corner of China, with services to 217 destinations around the globe including Europe, North America and throughout Asia, with flights operated in codeshare with Qantas, so passengers can earn Frequent Flyer Points on the service.
“We know China Eastern has ambitions to operate the route as a daily service in the future and we look forward to working with them to make this a reality,” Ms Alroe said.