Sydney Airport will welcome a new direct China Eastern Airlines service from Kunming next month, which is set to further grow tourism to Sydney and provide a new gateway destination for Sydneysiders travelling to China and South East Asia.
The three-weekly service will be operated by an A330-200 aircraft with 234 seats.
“We’re thrilled to welcome China Eastern Airlines’ new service from Kunming, which will provide additional capacity to serve strong demand from the important Chinese visitor market,” Sydney Airport Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Kerrie Mather said.
“This marks a new route for Sydney Airport and reinforces our position as the world’s leading airport for Chinese long haul airlines, with 13 routes between Sydney and mainland China.
“Kunming is also an inviting destination for Sydneysiders to visit, with attractions including the Lijiang Ancient City and Honghe Hani Terraces, as well as being a gateway to South East Asian countries including Nepal, Myanmar and Cambodia.”
China Eastern Airlines General Manager – Oceania Kathy Zhang said the airline would now offer 23 weekly flights between Sydney and Shanghai, Kunming, Nanjing and Hangzhou, with the latter two services continuing on to Beijing.
“This year marks the 20th year of China Eastern Airlines flying into Sydney,” Ms Zhang said.
“The steady growth of capacity in the last 20 years shows the confidence of China Eastern Airlines in the market between Sydney, Australia and China.”
The service is expected to boost tourism to Sydney and NSW, bringing 23,000 Chinese visitors and an estimated $89 million in additional visitor expenditure a year.
NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres welcomed the new service and said it was another fantastic win for the tourism industry.
“To June this year, NSW welcomed 639,000 visitors from China which is up 21 per cent on the previous year and visitation shows no sign of slowing down,” he said.
“The promotion of direct routes from Chinese cities is a key priority, and our partnership with China Eastern Airlines will help us enable more visitors to experience our iconic attractions, major events and festivals, cementing Sydney as the number one destination of choice.”
China Eastern Airlines will connect four mainland China cities to Sydney by the end of the year, with three-weekly services each from Nanjing and Hangzhou, and 10 weekly services from Shanghai increasing to 14-weekly from mid-December, in addition to the new three-weekly Kunming service. It is China’s second largest airline, a member of the SkyTeam alliance. The Sydney-Kunming route will also expand China Eastern’s joint venture partnership with Qantas, which also serves Sydney-Hangzhou, Sydney-Shanghai and Sydney-Beijing.
Sydney Airport has implemented a range of China ready initiatives to welcome Chinese passengers, including Mandarin speaking Airport Ambassadors, information in simplified Chinese, support of events such as Lunar New Year, and tailored retail, food and beverage offerings.