Low-cost carrier Jetstar, has announced it is to launch direct flights between the Gold Coast in Australia, and Wuhan in Central China.
The twice weekly service will be operated with the airline’s 335-seat Boeing 787 Dreamliner on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and is part of a deal between the airline and Chinese property and entertainment corporation, Dalian Wanda Group.
The partnership will see the Dalian Wanda Group selling flight and holiday packages to the Gold Coast for Chinese travellers, in an attempt to target the fast-growing Chinese tourism market.
The nine and a half hour flight will commence service on September 29, 2015 subject to government approval.
Jetstar Australia and New Zealand chief executive David Hall said the new flights would deliver substantial economic benefits to the tourism and hospitality sector on the Gold Coast.
"This new service opens up a direct link between south-east Queensland and one of the largest travel markets in the world, delivering about 70,000 seats between China and the Gold Coast each year," he said.
It will be the first time that Jetstar has operated direct flights between Australia and China, and the new link will open up over 70,000 seats between China and the Gold Coast each year.
"It's a great opportunity for us to build our presence in the Chinese market with the establishment of a direct service from Australia,” Mr Hall added.
Hong-Kong listed Dalian Wanda began constructing a $1 billion three-tower development on the Gold Coast last month, which will include 171 hotel rooms, 500 apartments and luxury shops.
China is Australia’s second-largest source of inbound visitors after New Zealand, and Australian tourism operators and airlines are eager to tap into a larger share of the Chinese tourism market.
The federal government recently agreed to make it possible for Chinese visitors to gain three-year, multiple entry tourist visas to Australia after pressure from tourism bodies, airlines and airports.
China Southern Airlines already services the Gold Coast which has become a major hub for Jetstar. The Australian carrier also flies direct from the Gold Coast to Queenstown, Alice Springs and Hawaii along with a host of other destinations.