Qantas Returns to Beijing After Eight Years
25th Jan 2017
Eight years ago, in the midst of the economic crisis that shook the world at the time, most carriers were forced to cancel some of their routes. This includes Australia Qantas, which had to scrap its daily flights between Sydney and Beijing. Now, however, the Australian airline has decided to once again operate its daily flights between Sydney and the Chinese capital.
This, according to Qantas Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce, is the result of the strong demand for Australia from holiday-makers and corporate market in China.
Beijing will be the third destination in China operated by the Flying Kangaroo after Hong Kong and Shanghai and with it; Qantas will have its largest presence in the country since starting its first Hong Kong flight back in 1949.
Mr. Joyce said on Wednesday at Sydney Airport:
"This is the 11th-largest corporate market for Qantas. This is a market that the business community has been calling out for some time. We are seeing a Chinese tourism boom and we know that this route will bring a lot of new tourists into this country."
Gareth Evans, Qantas International boss added that the number of Chinese visitors to Australia increased 23% for the previous year for a total number of 1.2 million in 2016.
Mr. Evans said:
They spent nearly $9 billion while they were here ? that's growth of 28 per cent on the previous year. Pretty much one in every $4 spent by overseas visitors is spent by Chinese tourists, and that is going to grow.
He also added that customer demand from China has been strong ever since the announcement of recommencing Sydney-Beijing service on 13th October, 2016, saying:
"We are in the peak of Chinese New Year, and the loads on the inaugural flight and first period are extremely strong in the high 80s [percentages] and above."
Qantas, however, will not be alone on this route, as several other carriers also fly between Sydney and Beijing. This includes Air China, China Southern an Air New Zealand. Some of these routes, however, are not direct and passengers have to change planes at some point.