- Qantas has resumed direct flights between Sydney and Shanghai, completing its pre-COVID-19 international route map.
- The airline will initially operate the route five times a week, adding more than 2,500 weekly seats between Australia and China.
- Qantas’ return to mainland China is expected to benefit tourism, strengthen trade ties and provide additional air cargo between the two countries.
Today marks a significant day for Australia’s leading airline, Qantas, as it resumes direct flights from Australia to mainland China. Qantas’ international route map is now complete and the Sydney to Shanghai route will be the last international destination to return to Qantas’ pre-pandemic network since borders reopened.
Shanghai is back on the Qantas map
The route between Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport (SYD) and Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) was an early casualty of the pandemic and was suspended in February 2020. Qantas flight QF129 departed again today, leaving Sydney at 10:55 as scheduled and arriving in Shanghai at 18:30 after a 10:35 flight.
The return flight is scheduled to depart Shanghai at 20:05 and arrive in Sydney at 09:45 the next day. Qantas will initially operate the service five times a week on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays on its Airbus A330 aircraft, adding more than 2,500 weekly seats between Australia and China, and plans to launch the service in March 2024. The number of seats will increase to more than 4,000 when the route begins operating daily. .
Qantas already operates direct flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Hong Kong, and Qantas International CEO Cam Wallace said today that the return to mainland China will benefit tourism and strengthen important trade relationships. He said it would be.
“The re-addition of Shanghai to our network map is good news for our customers, especially those traveling to China for business or to visit friends and relatives, and provides an additional important air cargo link between our two countries. ”
Relations between Australia and China have fallen to record lows in recent years, but there are encouraging signs that recent diplomatic efforts are leading to a thaw and increased exports are about to boost trade between the two countries. Qantas said demand from Chinese travelers was below pre-COVID-19 record levels but had steadily increased since borders reopened earlier this year.
Last week, Qantas withdrew its application to renew its partnership agreement with China Eastern Airlines, which had been in place since 2015, after opposition from Australia’s competition regulator. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said it was concerned about the potential future implications of this partnership. This will lead to higher fares for Qantas and China Eastern, limiting capacity on their routes.
China Eastern Airlines codeshare is OK
However, Qantas has confirmed that it will continue to operate a codeshare agreement with China Eastern on routes between Australia and China that are not operated by either airline, so some Qantas frequent flyer members may You will continue to have the opportunity to earn and redeem points on China Eastern flights.
Qantas has been heavily criticized in the media and at public hearings over the value and benefits of its frequent flyer program for members, particularly the availability of international seats. Today, the airline announced that for the first three weeks after the route reopens, all Qantas economy seats on the Sydney-Shanghai route can now be booked as Classic Flight Rewards using Qantas points.
A big week for Qantas also included flights from Brisbane Airport (BNE) to the Solomon Islands and New Zealand’s capital Wellington using Embraer E190 aircraft operated by subsidiary airline QantasLink. Embraer E190 registration VH-UZK operated his QF357 flight to Honiara International (HIR) in the Solomon Islands, while VH-UZF connected Brisbane to Wellington International (WLG) with his QF355 flight.
Qantas Group’s low-cost airline Jetstar is also expanding its operations this week with the launch of a Brisbane-Tokyo Narita (NRT) flight operated by a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. Qantas Group plans to increase international capacity to 100% of pre-COVID-19 levels by the middle of next year.