Qantas to restart Sydney-Beijing flights

By David Flynn, October 13 2016
Qantas to restart Sydney-Beijing flights

Qantas will start direct flights between Sydney and Beijing from January 25 2017, resuming a route which the airline axed in 2009.

The daily service will run on an Airbus A330-200 aircraft, although this will be one of the two remaining members of the A330 fleet which are not being upgraded to the newest Business Suites.

Instead, passengers at the pointy end will have to make do with the angled beds and 2-2-2 seating layout of the older Skybed I business class (below).

In the A330-200's favour, at least for Qantas, is that its significant cargo capacity will allow the airline to support the  growing amount of fresh milk, produce, seafood and other freight which it already flies into China.

QF107 will depart Sydney at 1.50pm daily, to reach Beijing's sprawling Capital International Airport at 10.40pm.

The return leg QF108 will be wheels up from Beijing at 12.15am for a 2.55pm touchdown into Sydney.

Qantas says the return flights are timed to connect with the airline's "extensive domestic and trans-Tasman network" to spur onwards flights by the surging Chinese travel market.

Gold, Platinum perks

As part of the expanded Qantas-China Eastern joint venture, Platinum and Gold members of the Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme will be admitted to China Eastern lounges throughout China when flying on China Eastern, as well as international lounges for flights between Mainland China and Australia.

A flash of the card will also ensure priority check-in and priority boarding, equivalent to the Sky Priority 'red carpet' treatment for China Eastern's business class passengers, top-tier frequent flyers and other SkyTeam member airlines. 

Beijing boost for business travellers

"Beijing is the largest destination for Australian corporate travellers which Qantas currently doesn’t serve,” said Qantas International CEO Gareth Evans, who said the new service underscores the Flying Kangaroo’s dedication to on Asian market.

“Almost 50% of our capacity is focussed on Asia, and Beijing will be the eighth destination served directly with a daily service out of Australia."

Chinese business travellers shouldn't be discounted, adds Kathy Zhang, China Eastern's General Manager Oceania.

"We are seeing an increase in Chinese business travellers flying back and forth between China and Australia" Zhang told Australian Business Traveller.

"They have for a long time been  visiting Australia for the mining industry but in recent years are getting more interested in services like education, construction and property investment, and also agriculture."

Qantas closed both its Sydney-Beijing and Melbourne-Shanghai services in early 2009, while stepping up Sydney-Shanghai to a daily service.

The airline has since relied on a codeshare Sydney-Beijing route with partner China Eastern Airlines which makes a stopover at the eastern city of Nanjing, near Shanghai.

Virgin Australia also intends to fly to Beijing by mid-2017 as part of its new alliance with HNA Aviation Group, however the challenger has not revealed from which Australian city the flights would originate.

Qantas will also expand its joint venture with China Eastern to codeshare on the Chinese airline's Sydney-Hangzhou, Sydney-Kunming and Brisbane-Shanghai services.

[An earlier version of this article cited the Sydney-Beijing A330s as being fitted with the Qantas Business Suite, which was incorrect]

Connect with other business travellers in our Qantas discussion group

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

30 Jul 2015

Total posts 122

don't forget about the a330-200, they have greater range than the a330-300.

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

@Angus Coventry:

"don't forget about the a330-200, they have greater range than the a330-300."

QF can deploy either 332 or 333 in its fleet depending on what  exactly will be the mission priority for SYD-PEK:

If 332:
Pros= Can fly a full payload especially Rev$ cargo in the belly.
Cons= Significantly higher fuel burn per seat than 333.
Remarks= Likely the right seat count if doing daily(i.e. more corp mkt focused) due to the expected traffic volume(i.e. mostly OD mkt in PEK as it's not a partner hub for QF connection unlike SYD-PVG).

If 333:
Pros= Significantly lower fuel burn per seat than 332...nearly the same level as a 788.
Cons= At full pax, can carry very little Rev$ cargo.
Remarks= Seat count ok if doing less than daily and target mkt will be mostly outbound leisure fm PEK.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 May 2014

Total posts 33

Remember QF deployed A333 on the old SYD-PEK flight (QF191/2) and they frequently had to offload baggages in order to make it non-stop; QF's A333s only have a MTOW of 212t which is next to impossible to make it economically feasible to fly nonstop to PEK

13 Oct 2016

Total posts 2

Incorrect.


QF A333 are all 233t MTOW. 212t is applicable to some A332's

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 May 2014

Total posts 33

Qantas official website gives it at 212t, and QF is known to do a pretty good job in updating its fleet page:


I was also told about this by a ground manager who handled QF flights to Beijing in the old days; those birds were certified to 212 ton when it flew to Beijing previously. Well obviously something may have happened in between and Qantas didn't update that.

In addition, I believe those A332 that you've mentioned has a MTOW of 202t, not 212. I've seem their plates in the cockpit (of VH-EBM and EBO) to confirm this MTOW.

13 Oct 2016

Total posts 2

The website is wrong, trust me it is 233, I fly them, but thanks for pointing it out - I will let someone know.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 May 2014

Total posts 33

Sure mate - if it's sure 233t then it would be much easier should QF decided to put the plane to PEK. Cheers

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Oct 2015

Total posts 22

Hallelujah. Now bring back Mumbai as well and that's 90% of my Asia travel on QF metal :)

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 752

Don't hold your breath waiting.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 May 2011

Total posts 228

David, you can read Chinese!
You're so talented ;)

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2388

No, but I can use Google Translate :P

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 May 2011

Total posts 228

Aww, you've shattered my admiration now.

J.K., you and Google are very clever.

JBL
JBL

01 Jun 2016

Total posts 60

It's amusing that the literal Chinese translation of Qantas is just 'Australian Airline', I wonder what they call VA...?

KK
KK

Air China - Phoenix Miles

20 Dec 2012

Total posts 106

It will be "Wei Zhen Ao Da Li Ya".

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 May 2016

Total posts 17

VA in Chinese is called Australian Virgin Airlines @JBL

14 Apr 2014

Total posts 47

@David

Do you think this may be the application from Virgin Australia? I think they announced earlier that they were planning to fly the SYD-PEK route. Just curious :)

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

@AlexT:

I don't think so.  The operator name in Chinese indicated on the official record(clipping cited by this website) stated the full Chinese brand /trading name registered & used by QF for @ least 3 decades.

10 Aug 2015

Total posts 130

Do you know if CAAC approved china southern to start a     SZX-BNE daily service?

03 Aug 2015

Total posts 59

This approval is for 3rd Quater, SZX-BNE was made in Q4 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 May 2016

Total posts 17

@afloskar I saw an approval for SZX-BNE by CSA on CAAC website!

10 Aug 2015

Total posts 130

@log0008 Do u know when the SZX-BNE route will be approved?

03 Aug 2015

Total posts 59

It could already be approved but they are only made public after the end of the quarter so if the route is not announced prior to this it will be in the Jan report 

10 Aug 2015

Total posts 130

Ok thanks @log0008

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2011

Total posts 336

It could be a Jetstar service. When they announced the end of Gold Coast - Wuhan they mentioned moving into other areas of China

QFF

16 Oct 2015

Total posts 13

I'd second that. The application of the other two airlines are very specific regarding the airline operating, i.e. Silk Air for the second one. I think it's gonna be QF itself.

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

@JacobW:

"The application of the other two airlines are very specific regarding the airline operating, i.e. Silk Air for the second one."
And Jeju Air(a Korean LCC) for the 1st one re a new route ICN-SYX(Sanya, Hainan island).

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 975

QF currently has 4,471 seats/week to mainland China assigned. These can be used for QF operated, JQ operated or codeshare.

That's their most recent update from IASC dated May 2016.

VA had 1,925 seats assigned in June.

If either airline is planning more flights, they haven't requested the seats from IASC yet.

Could the listing in China be a renewal of the Chinese side of the 4471 seats QF has already?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1388

Apart from being specific for SYD-PEK

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 May 2016

Total posts 17

14 Apr 2014

Total posts 47

That's an overnight stopover in Beijing :)

Finnair's Flight 52 to Helsinki departs at 10:55am

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 975

Just saw the QF press release announcing/confirming the route (which I assume caused the update on the article).

I notice that they are using the old JFK flight numbers (107/108). What were the old SYD-PEK QF flight numbers?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 May 2014

Total posts 33

If my memory serves the old SYD-PEK QF flight number was 191/192 - currently used on CNS-POM route.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Jul 2016

Total posts 108

This will be helpful for me - I go to Beijing all the time

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

the Qantas press release does not mention the new business suite. just throwing it out there, but maybe the 2 skybed 332s will be focused on the SYD-PEK-SYD route (the schedule requires 2 aircraft to maintain a daily service, maybe with a few east coast domestic flights thrown in for max aircraft utilization), for the next year or so until the 789s come into the mix when current aircraft types can be shuffled around more :).  There are many other airlines that operate different seating 'products' on different routes/markets. :)

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1253

Which would be fine, if QF market it that way. The problem is that QF show advertisments containing diamonds and occasionally a customer is served a rock. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Jul 2011

Total posts 40

I thought the a330s with skybed Mk1s were used for Hawaii? What will happen to those flights?

Sounds like this is where the aircraft displaced from the first 787 route will go!

Wait no it doesn't - misread the dates and got excited.

11 Dec 2015

Total posts 88

Those seem like fairly odd departure and arrival times. Hang around until the middle of the night in Beijing, arrive in Sydney too late for business that day, and if you want to "connect with the airline's extensive domestic and trans-Tasman network" your NZ flight doesn't get you there until 10:30pm that night. Coming the other way is a little better, but with NZs two hour time advantage couldn't they depart Sydney a couple of hours earlier?


I would have thought a lunchtime flight out and an overnight return getting people to Sydney at least mid-morning would be far better for both business and leisure pax

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1253

It's not that easy to get slots at PEK 

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

@hutch:

"It's not that easy to get slots at PEK."
 Fully agree.  Actually, practically impossible except slots for  odd hrs(i.e. very late night till very early morning).

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 560

It is only 'hanging around' in Beijing for 1 hour 35 minutes, which is a normal A330 turn around.


As for your comment about connecting to NZ, if it left Sydney earlier, say two hours earlier, yeah it could return earlier. But that would be at a time where there are few NZ flights. They are mostly in the morning, or between 5pm and 7pm. So not much point going early.

sgb
sgb

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 745

Oh that Skybed mark I, belongs in a museum, preferably under contraptions of torture section.

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 319

I get the feeling this would be one of the first routes to be replaced with the 787-9. The A333 doesn't have the legs to do this route properly and the reconfigured A332 doesn't have the galley space or toilet numbers to do it either. This only leaves the two old A332 to handle this route until the 787-9 comes along.

It seems that Qantas didn't plan reconfig very well.

QFF

08 Apr 2016

Total posts 2

Does China Eastern lounge access (for QF Gold/Plat) across domestic China airports and flights kick in on same date - 25 Jan 2017 or sooner?

I'll give it a crack next month anyway...great development, been waiting years for it

24 Feb 2012

Total posts 51

I would personally never fly China Eastern again but definitely try your luck. My experience with them was flying PVG to MFM and have Alitalia Freccia Alata Plus level which supposedly grants access to all Sky Team lounges. My experience was they will turn you away if unsure. Despite having all the evidence on paper they refused me entry. Hopefully it will be better for QF gold and platinums!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Dec 2012

Total posts 46

So much for QF upgrading all the A330's!

19 Nov 2012

Total posts 41

These 2 aircraft were planned for disposal. It now appears their leases will be extended and the aircraft refurbished at a later date.

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

@QFcrew:

These two 332s with SkyBed I will be fine for deployment on PEK-SYD for a while.  Competitors'(Only CA @ the moment) J product on the same route is @ the same seat design std/specs.

However, if VA decide to also select SYD for its confirmed PEK plan(Target launch date is 1Jun17 if I remember correctly), its J product is gonna spoil the SYD-PEK party for both CA and QF.......J seat in VA widebody fleet has nothing @ a lower spec than horizontal flat bed/suite.


AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 560

QF crew these two are on a finance lease as many Qantas aircraft are. So in reality "Qantas" owned so not the kind of thing that can be simply returned to the leasor. 


The other two international -200's were on an operating lease (think from CIT). 

Anyway what I don't follow is qantas are keeping a sub fleet to operate PEK and HNL anyway, so why not do a refurb with new seats up front and down back (ala the -300's) but keep the extra galley and either have less J or Y seats. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jan 2014

Total posts 15

With the downturn of the west to east coast flights, Qantas has ample opportunity to launch new routes with the newly reconfigured A330s

NZ, Europe and the Middle East (via perth) can all be served with an A330.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1388

Joe,
I think you'll find the flight schedules for these aircraft are pretty full already

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

@moa999:

But I think QF fleet deployment schedule for 330 can also be revised with relatively short notice(i.e. type swap 3-4 mths from now)....especially for transcon domestic trunks.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2012

Total posts 303

Thought they were going to deploy the Mk1 seats on the leisure Hawaii route.  Would think the chinese are more inclined to pay a premium for a fully flat suite, than a sloping bed which could be utilized better on a leisure route?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards Platinum

29 Aug 2014

Total posts 38

Dear VA, can you make a code share flights with Korean Air or ANA?

11 Mar 2012

Total posts 297

That sloping bed is awful.  A big buyer beware there!

Delta Air Lines - SkyMiles

14 Apr 2013

Total posts 330

Well at least this means that SYD - BJS - SYD is going to be an exculsive route for the A332's that have the Skybed fitted. I assume that this mean's thats QF as of next year will fly the HNL route using the new suites? If so it will give HA some good competition :-)

Furthermore, with QF flying the A332's to BJS this may mean extra award availability in J :-)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1388

Yes, it appears that SYD-HNL has been swapped to the 333 aircraft with Business Suites from 25-Jan - seatmaps have already changed.

On the downside it appears that these two unrefurbed aircraft will operate QF5/6 SYD-SIN on most days in between QF107/108. It's a very tight schedule so any delays/maintenance impacts are likely to impact for a couple of days.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Mar 2014

Total posts 40

I am very tempted to book this route with the current sale on, can anybody shed some light as to what the economy class cabin is like on these  non refurbished aircraft?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Dec 2015

Total posts 22

The fit-out of these aircrafts are designed for domestic or short haul. It will be interesting to see how crew handle two meal services without a garbage compactor. I can see rubbish piling up in a locked off toilet.


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