Qantas pulls the plug on Sydney-Beijing flights

Qantas will remove China's national capital from its international network, relying instead on codeshares with partner airlines.

By Chris C., November 12 2019
Qantas pulls the plug on Sydney-Beijing flights

Qantas will axe its non-stop Sydney-Beijing flights in March 2020, citing weak demand from travellers and increased competition on flights to China.

Although the exact date of the Roo's last service is not yet known, once Qantas exits the Sydney-Beijing route, passengers will instead be directed onto Qantas codeshare flights operated by China Eastern.

"Our flights to Beijing have been underperforming for some time due to weaker demand as well as a big increase in capacity from other airlines," said CEO of Qantas' International division, Tino La Spina.

While China Eastern is a member of the SkyTeam alliance – a rival to Oneworld, which Qantas co-founded – travellers can earn both Qantas Points and status credits when flying with China Eastern on a QF codeshare flight number.

This arrangement will continue after Qantas exits from Beijing, retaining that option of flying from Sydney with a full serve of frequent flyer points and status credits to match, albeit with a detour via another city such as Hangzhou.

Frequent flyer points, although not those all-important status credits which help move travellers through the Silver, Gold and Platinum ranks, can also be earned when flying with China Eastern on its native MU flight numbers.

Jetsetters can also use their Qantas Points to book flights operated by China Eastern, including via the Qantas website.

Flying to Beijing via Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific is another alternative for Qantas and Oneworld loyalists, especially if there's also business to be done or meeting to be had in Hong Kong.

"Customers booked to travel on the route beyond March 2020 will be contacted directly and reaccommodated on alternative services or offered a refund/fare credit," Qantas said in a statement.

Sydney-Beijing axed, Sydney-Shanghai remains

Qantas' flights from Sydney to Shanghai are not affected and will continue as normal.

In addition to China Eastern's Sydney-Beijing flights, Qantas also codeshares with China Eastern between Shanghai and Beijing (among other routes), giving the added option of flying Qantas from Sydney to Shanghai, and China Eastern for the shorter domestic flight.

Most recently, Qantas resumed Sydney-Beijing flights in 2017 after an extended hiatus, initially offering angled-flat beds in business class and later upgrading these aircraft to the more modern Business Suites.

This news comes less than a week after Qantas competitor Virgin Australia revealed it would be axing non-stop Melbourne-Hong Kong flights in February 2020, while retaining Sydney-Hong Kong.

Read: Virgin Australia to axe Melbourne-Hong Kong flights

Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Jan 2015

Total posts 71

Noooo! Whilst I agree that it was probably a loss making route given that I'm on QF107/108 a few times a year at least and J is almost never more than 2/3 full, it's still a loss nevertheless.

A 12 hour flight in a fully flat A330 at often ~$2.5k return sale fares in J was a steal. Now it's either direct to PEK with the atrocity that is CA or one stop with MU via the likes of PVG or HGH. Booking the QF codeshare on MU often attracts a much higher premium as well than booking on MU direct.

Guess I'll get to squeeze in one last run on the 107/108 for CNY at least, complete with DSC.


03 May 2013

Total posts 671

China Eastern Qantas....?! What about China Southern? FAR superior. China Eastern are utter crap!

18 Oct 2019

Total posts 12

China Eastern is the one airline I refuse to fly on

18 Oct 2019

Total posts 12

Sorry, meant China Southern!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Mar 2019

Total posts 5

Took this flight a few weeks ago, shame to see it go. I'll be flying Cathay next time to PEK a much better proposition (even with ththe protests!!) than China Eastern

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1245

What is "weaking demand"?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

05 Sep 2013

Total posts 47

Weakening demand is:

- Less people are booking route and/or;

- Revenue per passengers are too low to sustain route and/or;

- Aircraft can be used on another route with better performance for airline.

For SYD-PEK on Qantas:

- Chinese people will not book on Qantas, they would prefer a local carrier.

- Government contacts would be limited on route (some but not as much as a few years ago on AUS side, and next to impossible on Chinese side)

- Corporate contacts would prefer Shanghai or Pearl River Delta Area Airport (Think: Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shenzhen etc.) for business.

- Tourism would be limited for a direct/expensive Qantas service (Price sensitive travellers would use cheapest airline which is not Qantas on route)

- PEK airport is at capacity (Plus long delays at time, & possible sell or transfer landing slot to another airline)

- New Beijing airport is now open too (Limited opportunity to operate to both airport)

Look like this free's up an a330 to go to Japan

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 Mar 2018

Total posts 26

China Eastern are exceptional along with Hainan,China southern are possibly the worst Asian airline from the state of planes to product and crew.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2013

Total posts 138

Could they use this A330 to fly SYD-BOM or BNE-MAA (would the aircraft be able to get to india?)

I flew to beijing via SQ few weeks back. J class was almost half price as QF.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2016

Total posts 58

Surely they must do a direct flight to India at some stage and certainly if they are targeting premium travellers.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 May 2016

Total posts 18

if SYD-PEK is not making money, can QF compete with Indigo? Jetstar maybe, Qantas will make loss in India

16 Nov 2018

Total posts 28

Just by reading the comments you can tell "Aussies don't want to fly Chinese carriers, Chinese don't want to fly Aus carriers." Which side has more people? There is your answer.

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