Air China boosts Aussie footprint with new Brisbane service

Air China is expanding its Australian presence with direct flights to Brisbane from December 11.

China’s national carrier will fly from Beijing Capital Airport to the Queensland capital four times weekly using an Airbus A330-200 equipped with 198  economy class and 28 business class seats.

Air China’s general manager in Australia, Rui Jei, said the new flight was in response to increasing demand from the business and leisure market.

The Star Alliance carrier already flies to Sydney and Melbourne in Australia as well as Auckland in New Zealand.

The new service, expected to be worth $A190m to Queensland’s economy, is the second to be negotiated with a Chinese carrier as a result of the Queensland Government-backed “Connecting with Asia’ initiative.

Shanghai-based China Eastern, a Qantas partner, recently announced it was expanding to a daily Brisbane service in November.

The Air China flights will leave Brisbane on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays and give travellers access to Air China’s network across six continents. These include 18 points in Europe, nine points in North America and a long list of destinations in China and Asia.

China’s carriers have been increasing their footprint in Australia as Chinese tourism to the country continues to grow. Chinese visitor numbers as of July, 2017 were almost 25 per cent higher than for the same month in 2016 and they tend to be among the higher spending tourists  in Australia.

Last year, Air China was one of six Chinese carriers to sign a memorandum of understanding aimed at taking a coordinated approach on increasing capacity to Australia as well as with tourism marketing and promotional activities.

The other signatories were China Eastern, China Southern, Hainan Airlines, Sichuan Airlines and Xiamen Air.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said securing new direct flights from one of China’s largest markets would provide a boost to tourism and local jobs.

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