Air China is set to significantly expand its presence in Australian skies with the launch of direct flights to Shenzhen and Chengdu later this year.
A new Sydney-Chengdu route starting November 12, 2016 will complement the airline’s existing Australian flights to Beijing and Shanghai.
With an urban population exceeding 10 million – larger than New York City – Chengdu is a powerhouse of the finance industry and home to branches of over 260 of the globe’s Fortune 500 companies.
Air China will link Sydney to Chengdu with three flights per week using an Airbus A330-200 aircraft, fitted with 30 flatbed seats in business class across five rows in a 2-2-2 layout:
AusBT review: Air China A330 business class, Melbourne-Shanghai
Air China flight CA430 will leave Sydney at 2.35pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays to reach Chengdu at 10.35pm the same evening; on the return, CA429 pushes back at 10.55pm on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, arriving into Sydney at 12.35pm the following day.
Also on the cards is are Melbourne-Shenzhen flights to link Australia to this showcase ‘Special Economic Zone’, one of China's leading commercial and financial hubs.
Airline schedules indicate the flights will run four days a week on Airbus A330-200, with services starting before the year is out.
On Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, CA768 would leave the Victorian capital at 10pm for an early morning touchdown of 4:50am in Shenzhen, with CA767 wheels-up at 11:30pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays in China ahead of a 12:15pm next-day arrival in Melbourne.
Flights between Australia and China are rapidly expanding with XiamenAir kicking off a Melbourne-Xiamen route, Hainan Airlines planning Sydney-Xi'an and Sydney-Changsha flights and Beijing Capital Airlines set to fly Melbourne-Qingdao-Shenyang from later this year.
Better-known China Eastern Airlines will also begin daily Brisbane-Shanghai flights from December this year after a successful trial last summer, with China Southern Airlines now flying from Sydney to Shenzhen four times each week.
Our home-grown airlines are also eager to tap the Chinese market: Qantas recently strengthened its China Eastern partnership and Virgin Australia is planning flights to Beijing and also Hong Kong as part of a new alliance with HNA Group.
- The best seats in business class on Air China's Airbus A330-200s
- Air China A330 business class review: Melbourne-Shanghai
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