Sichuan Airlines touches down at Sydney Airport
The aviation boom between Australia and China is continuing with Sydney Airport announcing the commencement of Sichuan Airlines’ twice-weekly flights between the western Chinese cities of Chengdu and Chongqing into Sydney in December.
The inaugural first Sichuan Airlines flight from Chengdu-Chongqing to Sydney touched down at Sydney Airport on December 20.
Sydney Airport Chief Executive Officer, Kerrie Mather, said the new air link would boost tourism and business to Sydney, New South Wales and Australia from China.
“China is a huge growth market for Sydney Airport and we’re very pleased that passengers will now be able to access western China directly from Sydney,” Ms Mather said.
Sydney Airport now has 94 weekly flights from nine carriers to greater China. This will increase to 99 over the peak January and February Chinese New Year period. Five carriers offer 46 services to mainland Chinese cities including Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Nanjing and Shanghai.
Sydney airport has initiated Chinese language wayfinding signage, apps and website, and Chinese-speaking Red Ambassadors and tailored retail offerings for its Chinese visitors.
China is NSW’s largest international contributor of visitor nights and expenditure. For the year ending September 2013, a 13.8 per cent increase saw 413,000 visitors to NSW from China, which contributed $1.38 billion to the state’s economy.
Sichuan Airlines will operate twice weekly flights from Chengdu-Chongqing to Sydney on its Airbus A330-200 aircraft. Tourism Australia has led an aggressive campaign to engage with Chongqing and Chengdu – two new cities in China identified in Tourism Australia’s extended marketing presence into in as part of its broader China geographic strategy of deepening its marketing footprint into the country’s secondary cities.
“Like Chengdu, Chongqing represents one of China’s fastest emerging secondary cities and has the potential to open up significant new markets for us,” said Tourism Australia General Manager of Corporate Affairs and Strategy, Karen Halbert.
“We know from our research that there is a huge appetite for travel amongst the new middle classes in China’s second tier cities, but the full potential will only be fully realised by securing better aviation access and, in particular, more direct flights,” Ms Halbert said.
Chengdu is China’s economic, transport and communication hub in western china with around 14 million residents, while Chongqing is one of China’s most important industrial centres for manufacturing and transport, with a staggering population of around 30 million people. ■