Qantas is doing final checks for the restart of flights to mainland China, with non-stop hops between Sydney and Shanghai finally resuming on October 29 – more than three years since the route was an early casualty of the worldwide pandemic in February 2020.
Coincidentally, it’s the same day China Eastern Airlines begins flights from Brisbane to Shanghai, complementing its existing Sydney-Shanghai service.
Qantas will jet off to the ‘Paris of the East’ five times a week – on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday – on an Airbus A330 fitted with 28 lie-flat business class seats in a 1-2-1 layout.
QF129 will be wheels up from Sydney at 10:55am, arriving into Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport some 10 hours and 30 minutes later at 6:30pm.
The overnight flight QF130 departs Shanghai at 8:05pm, touching down into Sydney at 9:45am the following morning.
However, the long-standing partnership between Qantas and China Eastern has come to an end following a decision by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission that the hook-up “may breach competition laws” could provide an “opportunity and incentive to increase prices” versus what airlines would charge without the alliance.
The resumption of Sydney-Shanghai comes as Qantas rebuilds its fleet, including additional Boeing 787 deliveries and some novel leasing arrangements such as the use of Finnair jets between Sydney and Asia.
The Oneworld member’s Airbus A330 – fitted with its game-changing lounge business class and staffed by Finnair crew – flying on Qantas’ behalf between Sydney and Singapore from late October 2023, followed by Sydney to Bangkok from late March 2024.
Qantas is working to reset its trajectory with newly-minted CEO Vanessa Hudson at the helm, recently unveiling plans to funnel an extra $80 million into reducing the most noticeable customer ‘pain points’ through to June 2024.