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Chinese airline of many fives to begin serving Sydney

November 12, 2013 Aviation, Headline News 2 Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Sydney Airport is set to welcome a new airline and a new non-stop service, with Sichuan Airlines commencing a twice weekly Chongqing-Sydney service on 20 December 2013.

Sichuan Airlines, the fifth-biggest airline in China, became the fifth Chinese carrier to fly into Australia last year, when it began services to Melbourne. Sichuan is China’s fifth-largest province, ranked on population, and its capital Chengdu is the country’s fifth-largest city. Chengdu’s Shuangliu International Airport is China’s fifth busiest. That’s a bunch of fives – five in all. Mulia-Bali

Of China’s “big four” airlines – China Southern, Air China, China Eastern and Hainan Airlines – three also fly to Australia. Hainan Airlines is the exception, having withdrawn from serving Sydney. China Southern has recently started flying A380s on the Sydney-Guangzhou route, as part of its Canton Route which links Australia and Europe through China.

Sichuan Airlines’ is owned by the Sichuan provincial government and China Southern. Air China and China Eastern also own a stake, reportedly.

“We’re thrilled that Sichuan Airlines has chosen Sydney Airport as its latest destination,” Sydney Airport Chief Executive Officer, Kerrie Mather, said.

“Sichuan Airlines will operate twice weekly flights with its Airbus A330-200 aircraft, providing more than 50,000 seats per year on the important Chongqing-Sydney route.

“Chongqing is a major manufacturing centre, transportation hub and one of China’s emerging megacities. With around 30 million residents, the city has a greater population than Australia.

“Sydney is a fantastic destination for Sichuan Airlines, as it’s Australia’s tourism and business capital, and home to almost half of all Chinese-born people in Australia.

“This new route further strengthens Sydney Airport’s status as Australia’s gateway to China, with services to all the major Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Nanjing, and soon Chongqing in western China.

“Chinese passengers are our fastest growing passenger group and we expect this new service to further stimulate growth.

“By the end of the year, we’ll have 95 flights per week offered by nine carriers to greater China, increasing to 100 flights per week for the peak summer season early next year.

“We’re ready to welcome more Chinese passengers, with initiatives including Chinese language apps and website, wayfinding signage, Chinese speaking ambassadors and specialised retail offerings.”

Bookings for the new Sichuan Airlines service are now open. CAPA centre for aviation notes that the Chengdu-Melbourne service averaged only a 45% load factor in its first five months, so “slower growth may be wise”.

Chengdu, one of the largest cities in western China, is a driver of China’s recent economic growth. Sichuan Airlines commenced its first long-haul international services (between Chengdu and Vancouver) in June 2012.

Written by : Peter Needham

Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. AgernGerko says:

    I think you’ll find Peter that Hainan Airlines ceased flying here some time ago after suffering some pretty awful load factors. My wife and son flew with them in an aircraft they said had about 15% of seats filled.

  2. Peter says:

    Thanks for that information, AgentGerko. I will amend the story online to show that Hainan Airlines has withdrawn. With load factors like that it sounds little wonder!

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