China Eastern Airlines could launch direct flights between Perth and Shanghai by year's end, providing the WA capital with only its second non-stop link to China alongside China Southern's Boeing 787 service to Guangzhou.
The Shanghai-based airline – which is a Qantas partner as well as a member of the SkyTeam alliance – has confirmed it is "exploring the possibility of direct flights from Shanghai to Perth," which could span from a cautious four flights a week to an optimistic daily run.
The flights between the WA capital and China's commercial metropolis would use one of China Eastern's sizeable Airbus A330 fleet, although the airline also intends to fly the Airbus A350-900 and Boeing 787-9 from 2018 onwards on selected international routes.
China Eastern's move comes as Australian and Chinese airlines both take advantage of an "open skies" agreement for flights between China and Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth.
Qantas earlier this year restarted flights between Sydney and Beijing, while Virgin Australia is eyeing services on as as-yet-undeclared route between "a major Australian city" and a Chinese destination as part of its alliance with HNA Aviation Group.
Air China will kick off Melbourne-Shenzhen flights from June 20, while several smaller Chinese airlines have recently begun or soon plan to open up additional routes.