Qantas’ Asian expansion strategy took another step forward today (25 January 2017) with the relaunch of direct flights to China’s capital city, Beijing.
The Australian national carrier had previously suspended the service in 2009. But the route resumed on Wednesday and will now operate daily, departing Sydney at 1350 and landing at Beijing Capital International Airport’s Terminal 3 at 2240. The return flights then leave at 0015 or 0020 and arrive back in Sydney at 1455. The flights take approximately 12 hours.
Qantas will initially deploy a 235-seat Airbus A330-200 aircraft on the route, providing an additional 3,300 weekly seats to the market. Air China and China Eastern Airlines already fly between Sydney and Beijing.
Beijing becomes Qantas’ third destination in Greater China, joining Shanghai and Hong Kong.
The inbound flights are also timed to connect with Qantas’ domestic network to onward destinations such as Melbourne, Brisbane and Hobart, and trans-Tasman services to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown.
“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,” explained Qantas’ group CEO, Alan Joyce.
“What’s really exciting is the potential we see for the future. We now have the Qantas Group’s biggest ever network in Greater China, and our goal is to make our Beijing route a flagship corridor for tourism and trade.
“For Chinese travellers, our message is that there’s no better way of getting to know Australia than with the national carrier. In the business market, this route gives our companies the ability to win new business and get their products and services into the market. And it’s a positive for the Australian travel industry. So whichever way you look at it, this is a good news story,” he added.
The new Beijing service is part of Qantas’ growth strategy for the broader Asian region, increasing its total capacity on routes to Asia by 7%. This follows the start of Melbourne-Tokyo Narita flights before Christmas and the announcement last week of a new Jetstar service between Melbourne and Ho Chi Minh City, which is due to begin in May 2017.