Sydney Airport is set to welcome its sixth new airline this year when Hainan Airlines commences services from Xi’an to Sydney in December. The new twice-weekly service will commence on December 24, 2015 until the end of the peak northern winter season in late March 2016, subject to government approval and will be operated by an Airbus A330-200 aircraft with 222 seats.
China is Sydney Airport’s fastest growing inbound visitor market and this new link will bring even more Chinese visitors to Sydney and NSW, with associated tourism and economic benefits. Hainan Airlines will be the sixth Chinese mainland airline serving destinations across mainland China, making Sydney Airport the world’s leading airport for long-haul Chinese airlines.
“We’re excited to be welcoming Hainan Airlines to Sydney in December, which will bring more Chinese tourists to Sydney and provide Sydneysiders with a direct flight to the home of the Terracotta Warriors,” said Kerrie Mather, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Sydney Airport
The arrival of another Chinese airline in Sydney is another positive outcome of Sydney Airport’s work with government and industry to grow tourism, as well as the expanded China-Australia bilateral agreement in early 2015.
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Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said the arrival of Hainan Airlines in Sydney next month is a huge coup for New South Wales. "China is NSW’s largest inbound tourism market with 526,000 Chinese visitors last financial year – an increase of 24 per cent on the previous year. These visitors spent almost $2 billion in NSW and we look forward to welcoming even more international visitors to our great city and the regions over the summer," he said.
Sydney is currently linked to Beijing by Air China; Chongqing by Sichuan Airlines; Fuzhou by Xiamen Airlines; Guangzhou by China Southern Airlines; Nanjing by China Eastern Airlines; Shanghai by Air China, China Eastern Airlines and Qantas; and Xiamen by Xiamen Airlines, while Sichuan Airlines also offered links from Shenzhen in 2011.
According to OAG Schedule data, the average number of daily seats on offer between Australia and mainland China has grown from 935 each way in 2005 to 2,896 in 2014, rising still further to 3,307 this year as additional routes and increased frequencies have been added between the two markets. This year will be the fourth consecutive year to see over one million annual one-way seats between the two countries.
Sydney Airport has been the main gateway for Chinese arrivals in Australia, however, despite increasing its own arrival capacity by an average annual rate of 9.1 per cent between 2005 and 2014, its share of available seats has diluted from 96.2 per cent in 2005 to 56.7 per cent last year. Despite the recent launch of new services from Xiamen Airlines and the arrival of Hainan Airlines this will drop to 53.4 per cent this year, based on published schedules.