Queenslanders with their hearts set on seeing the Great Wall and futuristic Shanghai skyline in the flesh will soon have a choice of two carriers from Brisbane, as China Eastern Airlines confirms the imminent return of Brisbane-Shanghai flights from October 29.
Despite unveiling plans second, the Shanghai-based SkyTeam member will actually be the first to bounce back to the Sunshine State, with rival China Southern Airlines taking wing between Guangzhou and Brisbane on November 17.
Both airlines will cautiously dip their toes into the renewed market – China Eastern initially thrice weekly, while China Southern goes one better with four per week – before each ramping up to daily flights from December 8 for the peak tourist season.
As with its Sydney to Nanjing and Wuhan flights, China Eastern is rolling out its two-class Airbus A330 on the route. In business class, that takes the form of 30 flatbed seats in a 1-2-1 layout, delivering direct aisle access to every passenger.
From its hub at Shanghai’s Pudong Airport, China Eastern connects travellers to some 80 destinations across China and 46 around the globe.
Brisbane Airport CEO Gert-Jan de Graaff hails the return of China Eastern as yet another sign the Chinese tourism market is roaring back to life, describing it as “big news for the Gold Coast, Brisbane and North Queensland”.
“Shanghai is China’s largest city and a commercial hub, making it a key city for business and leisure travel,” explains de Graff. “With two carriers now set to resume services from mainland China, we’re forecasting China will likely regain its spot as Queensland’s number one source for inbound tourists in 2024.”
Shanghai-Brisbane is the 26th route secured by Queensland’s Attracting Aviation Investment Fund, a joint initiative between the state government and airports.