Direct Melbourne-Hangzhou flights to start in June

Beijing Capital Airlines is adding a second non-stop route from Melbourne.

By David Flynn, April 17 2024
Direct Melbourne-Hangzhou flights to start in June

Australia’s coffee capital and China’s capital of tea will soon be connected by direct flights, with Beijing Capital Airlines launching a new Melbourne-Hangzhou route in June.

The 11-hour journey will be flown three times a week on Beijing Capital’s Airbus A330, which is offers lie-flat beds in a 1-2-1 layout in business class.

Beijing Capital’s website shows a 7am departure from Melbourne for flight JD386 on Mondays, Thursday and Saturdays; the overnight JD385 from Hangzhou will depart 3.50pm on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

The Melbourne-Hangzhou flights will complement Beijing Capital’s existing service to Qingdao – a city which among other things is known for its beer, as the home of the Tsingtao brewery founded by Germans in 1903.

Hangzhou is the eighth non-stop destination in mainland China to forge a connection to Melbourne, and Melbourne Airport CEO Lorie Argus says the flights will undoubtedly increase opportunities for Victoria’s tourism, education and agriculture sectors.

“Hangzhou is home to around 11 million people, which is twice the size of Melbourne,” she notes, adding that “Mainland Chinese travellers have traditionally been one of the highest spending markets.”

Chinese tourists spent a total of $5.8 billion in Australia in 2023, although this is little more than half of their 2019 spend, while the number of Chinese passport holders travelling to Victoria now sits at just 62% of pre-pandemic levels.

That said, Melbourne continues to lead the way in Australia’s international aviation rebound.

Turkish Airlines is perhaps the biggest coup to date, with the Star Alliance member flying to Istanbul via Singapore and non-stop Melbourne-Istanbul flights on the cards for 2026.

Vietjet now connects Melbourne to both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, while December 2023 saw the start of Air India’s non-stop flights to Mumbai.

South Korea’s Asiana Airlines will also run four flights per week between Melbourne and Seoul during its 2024 seasonal service from July to September.

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