China Southern Airlines takes off in Australia

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-10-29 15:40:19

China Southern Airlines has capped off a remarkable rise week, with the touching down of its first A380 into Sydney, the latest milestone in a successful strategy that has redrawn the China-Australia map and seen exchanges between the two people's flourish.

Deputy State Premier Andrew Stoner was on hand to welcome the first China Southern (CSA) A380 flight into Sydney on Monday, calling it an important service for Australia-bound Chinese visitors who now surpass New Zealand visitor numbers to NSW.

"China Southern's maiden flight into NSW marks a major milestone as the very first A380 to arrive from China into Australia," Stoner said.

The bullish decision-makers at CSA have been clawing for that extra mileage in Australiasia aiming to take a greater share of the market in 2013 by flying 11 percent more capacity than 2012, easily growing faster than the national traffic target.

Already China's largest and most recognized, CSA is boosting capacity on profitable routes and increase cooperation between subsidiaries.

Earlier this year, dynamic General Manager Tan Wangeng told the company's annual general meeting that he will be focusing on Australia and Southeast Asia.

In 2013, the Civil Aviation Administration of China has been targeting 8 percent higher passenger and freight traffic for Chinese mainland airlines.

In 2012, traffic was up over 6 percent and should CSA continue its in-flight success, 2013 should see the airline enjoy traffic share from such rivals as Air China, China Eastern Airlines and Hainan Airlines.

Stoner, a well-travelled expert on China, who also assumes the state portfolio of investment and trade, said that CSA's arrival is nothing but good news for jobs, tourism and closer engagement between the two countries.

China Southern's single daily A380 air service is expected to generate 5000 jobs and contribute approximately 390 million Australian dollars (370 US dollars) to the Australian economy in just one year.

Key developments in CSA's international business have included strengthening of services to Australia and, in October 2012, the deployment of Airbus A380s on the route linking Los Angeles and Guangzhou.

Speaking to Xinhua earlier this year, Tan said the company's international operations are steadily growing.

"The passenger load factor on the Guangzhou to Sydney route has reached 90 percent. The company will steadily develop the Australian and Southeast Asian markets into an area in which it has unique strengths."

"Since the A380 has been deployed on the route between Guangzhou and Los Angeles, the situation has been fairly good. The average passenger load factor has reached about 84 percent,"he concluded.

Stoner noted China's importance to the region.

"China has recently overtaken New Zealand as the number one source market for visitors and I welcome this extra service for Chinese passengers to get to Australia's top tourism destination, Sydney," he said.

At a ceremony in Sydney to celebrate the milestone, Stoner welcomed Mr Si Xianmin, president of the China Southern Air Holding Company and chairman of China Southern Airlines Company Limited, his colleagues, media and the passengers on-board the inaugural China Southern A380 flight to NSW.

Also present at the welcome breakfast at Rydges Airport Hotel, Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy who has been at the forefront of spruiking Australia to Chinese consumers, and lauded the joint effort by both Tourism Australia and China Southern.

"Australia now welcomes more than 700,000 Chinese visitors and it's growing at more than 20 percent per annum," McEvoy said.

"China Southern is now carrying close to one in four Chinese visitors to our country."

According to Stoner, the state of NSW is Australia's number one State for Chinese tourism, attracting 61.2 percent of all Chinese tourists who visit the country.

"China now ranks as the largest international contributor of visitor nights and expenditure in NSW.

For the year ending June 2013, an 18 percent increase saw 396, 000 visitors to NSW from China, which contributed 1.3 billion Australian dollars (1,236 US dollars) to the state's economy.

This strong growth in Chinese visitors to NSW is proof the NSW Government's China Tourism Strategy to increase visitor numbers from China is working.

"NSW's vast range of visitor experiences are great drawcards for travellers from China, as are the many events on the Sydney and NSW Events Calendar such as Vivid Sydney held earlier this year, which saw 7,200 packages taken by visitors from China."

Sandra Chipchase, CEO of Destination NSW, the government's tourism and major events agency, said visitors from China coming to NSW could expect to experience the best of Australia in one location.

"From pristine beaches to the outback and rainforests, and from delicious seafood and wine delights to luxury shopping, NSW has it all,"she told reporters.

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