Zhengzhou, the capital of central China’s Henan province, will get its first direct connection to Australia later this year.
Jetstar has announced plans to start flying direct to the city from Melbourne in December 2017, with twice weekly flights. The service, which will be operated by a twin-aisle Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, is expected to bring 35,000 Chinese travellers to Australia each year.
“We expect our low-fares will further stimulate inbound tourism from China to Australia,” said Jetstar’s group CEO, Jayne Hrdlicka. “China already accounts for the largest source of tourism in Victoria, and by 2020 it’s predicted that China will overtake New Zealand to be Australia’s largest tourism market.
“We know that Chinese travellers generally visit two or three cities when they visit Australia so we expect this will boost tourism to other parts of Australia.”
John Eren, Victoria’s Minister for Tourism & Major Events, commented; “More direct flights to China means more visitors and greater business and trade opportunities for Victorians. To land Jetstar’s new direct service to Zhengzhou is another major coup.”
Zhengzhou provides a major potential source of visitors to Australia. The city itself is home to more than 10 million people and Henan province is one of the most populous regions in China, with around 100 million people – approximately the same as Thailand and Malaysia combined.
Jetstar’s Dreamliner can accommodate 335 passengers in two classes, meaning that the airline will offer 670 seats in each direction every week. Jetstar is partnering with China Comfort Travel on the Melbourne-Zhengzhou service, with the travel agency being tasked with selling flights and packages directly to Chinese travellers.
“The opening of the new route from Zhengzhou to Melbourne, which is the first non-stop intercontinental passenger route to Australia in Henan province, builds a direct bridge between the two cities. It will significantly promote the friendship and cultural exchanges between China and Australia,” said Jun Yan, general manager of Australia Comfort, a subsidiary of China Comfort Travel.
This isn’t Jetstar’s first foray into central China, however; the Australian low-cost carrier previously operated a similar “scheduled charter” service between the Gold Coast and Wuhan.