Sydney Airport today welcomed a new direct China Eastern Airlines service from Kunming, following the first flight by the airline from Hangzhou on 16 November 2016.
Both services are year-round and three-weekly, operated by an A330-200 aircraft with 234 seats.
China Eastern will also commence direct services from Wuhan on 19 January 2017, in time for the busy Lunar New Year period and subject to government approval.
“We’re delighted to welcome two new routes to Sydney Airport this month, with these direct China Eastern Airlines services from China’s Zhejiang and Yunnan provinces,” Sydney Airport Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Kerrie Mather said.
“We’ll also see the start of China Eastern’s new direct Wuhan services just in time for Lunar New Year, serving central China’s major transportation hub and a booming population of over 10 million people in Wuhan city alone.
“These new services reinforce our strong connection to China, which will connect Sydney to 14 Chinese cities from January 2017.
“This is a great outcome for NSW tourism, with the three services expected to bring 65,000 Chinese visitors, contributing an estimated $260 million of additional visitor expenditure per year.”
China Eastern Airlines General Manager – Oceania Kathy Zhang welcomed the new services.
“Travel between Australia and China is booming,” Ms Zhang said.
“To meet the increasing demand, China Eastern Airlines is delighted to introduce these new routes to Hangzhou, Kunming and Wuhan.
“The new routes, and introduction of Boeing 777-300ER on our Shanghai service from Sydney, reflect our commitment to delivering a world-class guest experience for Australian travellers that deepens global business opportunities, increases connectivity and creates meaningful relationships between our two cultures.”
NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said China represents the State’s largest tourism and trade partner and significant work is underway to expand this relationship long term.
“Our fantastic State has already welcomed 639,000 visitors from China in the year to June this year, a massive 21 per cent increase on the previous year representing a visitor spend of $2.6 billion,” Mr Ayres said.
“The NSW Government is investing heavily in getting the visitor experience right, from building world class hotels and restaurants, to working in partnership with Chinese carriers to bring more travellers to our beautiful State.
“We look forward to working with China Eastern Airlines and travel trade partners to promote the new Kunming to Sydney service and showcase our famous calendar of events, globally recognised icons and stunning Regional NSW areas.”
Tourism Australia Managing Director John O’Sullivan said the continued expansion of its Australian operations by China Eastern Airlines was welcome news and important for Australian tourism.
“With Australia’s appeal so strong amongst Chinese travellers, it’s critical that aviation capacity keeps up with demand and this undoubtedly means securing more direct flights from secondary cities such as China Eastern’s new Sydney services from Kunming, Hangzhou and Wuhan,” he said.
China Eastern Airlines is China’s second largest airline measured by seats and part of the SkyTeam alliance. The new routes also expand China Eastern’s joint venture partnership with Qantas, which also serves Sydney-Shanghai and Sydney-Beijing.
Sydney Airport has implemented a range of China ready initiatives to welcome Chinese passengers, including Mandarin speaking Airport Ambassadors, signage and information available in simplified Chinese, support of events such as Lunar New Year, and appropriate retail, food and beverage offerings.
Flight schedules (all times local):
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday: MU711 departs Beijing at 2000, arrives Hangzhou at 2215, arrives in Sydney at 1330 the next day
Wednesday, Friday and Sunday: MU712 departs Sydney at 2215, departs Hangzhou at 0750 the next day, arrives in Beijing 1010 the next day
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday: MU777 departs Kunming at 0050, arrives in Sydney at 1445
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday: MU778 departs Sydney at 2050, arrives in Kunming 0500 the next day
Wuhan (to commence 19 January 2017)
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday: MU749 departs Wuhan at 2330, arrives in Sydney at 1330
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday: MU750 departs Sydney at 2215, arrives in Wuhan 0600 the next day