Brisbane welcomes back China Eastern Airlines

The newly-rebounded flights to Shanghai unlock over 80 connections throughout mainland China and beyond.

By Chris Ashton, November 1 2023
Brisbane welcomes back China Eastern Airlines

Queenslanders with their hearts set on visiting the Great Wall or futuristic Shanghai now have a choice of two carriers from Brisbane: China Eastern Airlines restarts flights from today, while rival China Southern Airlines is primed to follow suit in a few weeks time.

SkyTeam member China Eastern’s non-stop link to Shanghai initially returns thrice-weekly, before ramping up to daily flights from December 8.

  • MU716 from Brisbane takes wing at 11:10am every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, touching down at Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport at 7:30pm,
  • The reverse MU715 departs at 8:50pm each Thursday, Saturday and Tuesday, arriving at a cheery 9am the following day.

As with its Sydney to Nanjing, Wuhan and Hangzhou flights, China Eastern is rolling out a 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.

China Southern’s four-times-weekly flights from Brisbane to Guangzhou will enter the mix on November 17, with daily services to follow from December 8 to February 25.

Though Brisbane lacks a SkyTeam member lounge for business class guests and frequent flyers to enjoy a bite pre-flight, it does offer two pay-per-use options: the Plaza Premium Lounge and the Aspire Lounge

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.

The return of both airlines is yet another feather in the cap of the Attracting Aviation Investment Fund, a joint Queensland Government and airports initiative, which has secured some 26 global connections since its introduction.

Also on that list are Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong, which returns from December 1, as well as the now-flying Vietjet to Ho Chi Minh City and Korean Air to Seoul.

While China Eastern and Qantas recently axed their long-running alliance, the two airlines will continue to offer codeshares on routes between Australia and China that both airlines do not fly, including ‘earn and burn’ opportunities for Qantas Points. 

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