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China to Queensland Flights to Resume

  • 2023-08-13
  • Queensland’s most lucrative tourism market set to reignite
  • Major Queensland export route restored 
  • China Southern Airlines to fly 4 times/week to Brisbane, growing to daily 
  • To be operated by quieter & more fuel efficient A350

It is the announcement Queensland’s tourism industry has been waiting for. China Southern Airlines will fly to Brisbane from China 4 times per week, growing to daily within two years. 
China was Queensland’s biggest tourism earner before Covid-19 contributing $1.61 billion in overnight visitor expenditure. It has been the largest missing link in the international recovery since the pandemic cancelled direct flights in 2020.  
Over three years the reignited service will land almost 278,000 inbound seats to Brisbane, generating nearly $441 million for the visitor economy and supporting up to 1,790 Queensland jobs. 


Brisbane Airport Chief Executive Officer Gert-Jan de Graaff has just returned from Guangzhou following personal negotiations with China Southern Airlines.   
"Currently more than half of Queensland’s visitors from China are forced to fly via Sydney or Melbourne and the rest are coming via destinations like Singapore and Hong Kong.  Today’s announcement will restore Queensland’s direct connection to our most lucrative market. 

"No single country has a bigger impact on Queensland’s tourism industry as China. We welcome China Southern Airlines back to the BNE family, and the thousands of tourists who will follow, and the good jobs they’ll support across Queensland." 
"The timing is perfect with the announcement on Thursday by the Chinese Government that it will allow travel agencies in China to book outbound group travel to Australia." 
China Southern has been the largest airline in Asia by fleet size for a long time and the largest in China by number of passengers carried. Its services to Brisbane will depart from the airline’s hub in Guangzhou. 
It was the first Chinese airline to fly to Brisbane and operated here from 2010 until the pandemic closed borders. Pre-covid, China Southern carried the most Chinese arrivals into the State and was the largest export air-cargo carrier from Queensland to China 
Currently the number of passengers arriving from China is sitting at 12% of 2019 levels. China is also a significant source of international students. 
Queensland Export Boost 
Queensland exporters will welcome the return of a direct air-cargo channel, which saw 11 thousand tonnes per year sent from BNE to China pre-Covid but has seen the vast majority of Queensland produce flown via SYD or MEL airports.  
"This is massive news for Queensland exporters with the volume of freight sent to China slumping since the loss of direct flights. Now Queensland’s rural producers and exporters will again have direct access to 1.4 billion customers across China and beyond." 
Queensland’s top exports to China currently include chilled beef, seafood, provitamins and vitamins, beauty and make-up products and fresh produce. 
China Southern’s return is proudly assisted by the Queensland Attracting Aviation Investment Fund (AAIF), a jointly funded Queensland Government and airports initiative. 
From Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe:
"Securing China Southern from Guangzhou is a game changer, and an incredibly important step in rebuilding Queensland’s international visitor economy after the pandemic. 
"Queensland is Australia’s favourite holiday destination, and we’re keen to see Chinese travellers falling in love all over again with our awe-inspiring visitor experiences. 
"China is crucial to Tourism and Events Queensland’s Blueprint for growing an $11 billion international visitor economy on our runway to the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games." 
From China Southern Airlines Regional General Manager Australia & NZ, Jason Sun:
"The resumption of this flight is a testament to the valuable support provided by the Queensland Government and Brisbane Airport to China Southern Airlines and showcases our shared vision for the future.  
"Through this collaboration, China Southern Airlines aims to further expand the ‘Canton Route’ and, in turn, contribute to the influx of tourists from China as well as business and leisure travelers from other parts of the globe to Queensland." 
From Tourism and Events Queensland CEO Patricia O’Callaghan:
"This is news our tourism industry has been eagerly awaiting. 
"Twice this year I’ve travelled to China to meet with stakeholders and rally Team Queensland to ensure we not just re-establish this market but hopefully grow it. 
"We know how important this market is and will be working hard to put Queensland right at the top of the ‘must do’ list."  
From Queensland Tourism Industry Council CEO Brett Fraser:
"It is great to be welcoming back direct flights between Guangzhou and Queensland’s capital city. The return of these giants of aviation to our skies is a good sign of tourism confidence and revitalisation.  
"Better connectivity and greater availability of direct flights makes Queensland a more appealing destination and gives us a competitive edge in a highly competitive global market." 
From Australia-China Business Council CEO Elizabeth Sullivan:
"The return of these flights is hugely important for facilitating two-way direct people-to-people links, particularly for those in the trade and investment space, and across the broader community, including in tourism and education.  
"Behind all the trade and investment numbers are hundreds of Queensland companies and thousands of jobs across the State. These flights will make it so much smoother and easier for those wanting to do business or to travel to now visit Queensland and/or China."  
Next generation aircraft 
China Southern will operate the new generation Airbus A350 aircraft to Brisbane. This will not only give passengers a superior level of comfort, but the aircraft is designed to be 50% quieter and 25% less fuel burn and CO2 emissions per seat compared to previous generation aircraft used in 2019. 
The aircraft will have 334 seats in a 28+306 configuration. 
Growing BNE Network 
Services will resume on 17 November in time for peak Chinese travel season. 
It will add to Brisbane Airport’s growing global network, which with this announcement will total 28. 
Tourists flying into BNE can connect to the largest domestic destinations network in Australia, with 52 towns and cities to choose from, 30 of them in Queensland.  
"This is good news from Surfers Paradise to the Great Barrier Reef, and all the way to the top of the brand-new Queen’s Wharf Sky Deck," according to Gert-Jan de Graaff. 
Brisbane Airport is embarking on a $5+ billion investment program to meet demand leading up to the 2032 Brisbane Olympic and Paralympic Games, and beyond.

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