Air flights between Chinese mainland and Australia now near 2019 levels: data
Published: Nov 02, 2023 06:55 PM
Photo: Courtesy of Qantas

Photo: Courtesy of Qantas

Air flights between Chinese mainland and Australia are resuming quickly as airlines from the two countries are busy mapping routes amid improving ties, and the number of flights in November of this year are close to 2019 levels. 

Industry information provider VariFlight sent to the Global Times on Thursday showed that the number of flights in November is higher than October, even close to levels last seen in October of 2019. In detail, the number of flights in November of 2023 was 1,181, up from 841 in October. In comparison, the number of October of 2019 was 1,229.  

The improvement came amid improving ties between the two countries. 

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will visit China from November 4 to 7, and he is expected to attend the China International Import Expo held in Shanghai. The trip is believed to pave the way for improved trade ties and opening doors for businesses on both sides.

Hainan Airlines said on Thursday that it has increased flight frequency from Haikou in South China's Hainan Province to Sydney to three times per week from October 29, and the frequency will be increased to five times per week from December 15, and then to daily flights from January 1 of 2024. 

Sichuan Airlines on Monday also launched a direct flight from Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan Province to Sydney. It is the second city connecting by the carrier after Melbourne. 

The flight to Sydney will operate three times per week. Sichuan Airlines said it will also increase the frequency to five times per week from November 19. 

Australia's national carrier Qantas, has resumed flights to Shanghai for the first time in three years. Flights will operate five days per week with an Airbus A330 aircraft, adding more than 2,500 seats per week between China and Australia, and growing to over 4,000 seats per week when services increase to daily in late March next year, according to the information the company shared with the Global Times. 

Qantas International CEO Cam Wallace said the return of the route was great news for customers, offering more choice for travelers between China and Australia.

Photo: Courtesy of Qantas

Photo: Courtesy of Qantas

Prior to 2020, China was Australia's biggest inbound tourism market with over 1.4 million visitors per year. The direct services will support critical business, trade and tourism links between the two countries, Wallace said. Australia is ready and excited to welcome back Chinese group tours.

Data from Australian Bureau of Statistics shows Chinese visitor arrivals surpassed 50 percent of pre-pandemic levels for the first time in July when Australia welcomed 79,040 visitors. 

Prior to the pandemic, China was the most valuable inbound traveler market for the Australian visitor economy.

In 2019 Chinese visitors on group tours spent about $581million in Australia, almost one-third of the total spend in Australia by Chinese holiday makers. Since borders reopened in March this year, the steady return of international visitors from China has seen it climb back to be Australia's second largest inbound traveler market, according to website