Just in time for Chinese New Year, Qantas’ new flights to Beijing launched Wednesday, boosting the Australia-China travel boom.
Following Shanghai and Hong Kong, Beijing is Qantas’ third destination in Greater China. The new service offers a direct gateway between China and Australia, with inbound flights on the new route timed to connect with Qantas’ domestic network to popular onward destinations such as Melbourne, Brisbane and Hobart, as well as the airline’s Tasman services to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown.
Flights will operate to Beijing Capital International Airport Terminal 3, using a 235 seat Airbus A330-200 aircraft. Overall, the service adds 3,300 seats to the market per week.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the 12-hour route takes Qantas’ long history of serving China into a new era.
“It’s the perfect time for Qantas to fly to Beijing. The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement is hitting its stride and China is on track to become the number one source of visitors to Australia within the next year or so,” Mr Joyce added.
The new Beijing service is part of Qantas’ growth strategy for China and the broader Asian region, increasing its total capacity on routes to Asia by seven percent.
Together with its partners China Eastern and China Southern, Qantas customers can now choose from 130 weekly return flights between Australia and China, plus close to 256 connecting services to domestic destinations within China.
This week's route launch follows the beginning of Melbourne-Tokyo Narita flights before Christmas and the announcement last week of a new Jetstar service between Melbourne and Ho Chi Minh city, to begin in May 2017.
Launch celebrations will take place in both cities, including the traditional Chinese Lion Dance and the gifting to passengers of chocolates inside red packets to celebrate Chinese New Year.