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Queensland & China Reconnected after 1,359 Days

  • 2023-11-01
  • China Eastern Airlines becomes the first Chinese airline to return to Queensland  
  • Non-stop service starting at 3-days per week and daily from December 8 
  • Reignites Queensland's most valuable inbound tourism market  

It’s been 3 years, 8 months and 21 days since a direct flight touched down in Queensland from China, and today, that drought was broken. China Eastern Airlines flight MU715 landed this morning at Brisbane Airport, reconnecting Queensland’s most valuable tourism market. 
"This is a landmark day for Queensland’s tourism industry. We are delighted to welcome China Eastern Airlines back to Brisbane and see Shanghai return to BNE’s destination map. Shanghai is China’s largest city and a commercial hub, making it a key city for business and leisure travel," according to Gert-Jan de Graaff, Chief Executive Officer of Brisbane Airport Corporation.     
"In just 17 days, we’ll see the return of our second Chinese airline.  Both services will increase to daily flights from December in time for the peak travel season, so we’re forecasting China will likely regain its spot as Queensland’s number one source for inbound tourism income in 2024.  This is big news for Brisbane, the Gold Coast and North Queensland."   
Over the next three years, China Eastern services are predicted to deliver 181,014 inbound international seats, generating $314 million and supporting 1,270 Queensland jobs. 
From Shanghai, China Eastern can connect passengers to over 80 cities in all corners of China, 10 destinations in Europe, 16 in North Asia (14 in Japan, 5 in South Korea) and 4 cities in North America. 
The return of China Eastern’s direct flights to China will be welcomed by Queensland exporters who regain a direct path to market for all the high-quality fresh food sent to China’s quality conscious consumers. 
The deal is the 26th strategic international connection secured by the Attracting Aviation Investment Fund, a joint Queensland Government and airports initiative.   
From Tourism Minister: Stirling Hinchliffe
"I want to thank Brisbane Airport Corporation team for its rock-solid partnership with the Palaszczuk Government to restore direct international airline services to Queensland. 
"China Eastern is strategically important for reconnecting Brisbane to Shanghai’s aviation hub to drive Queensland’s international tourism recovery, exports and support for good Queensland jobs. 
"We know Chinese visitors love Queensland great lifestyle and world-class holiday experiences and will be crucial to our plan to build an $11 billion international visitor economy by the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games." 
From China Eastern: Jim Young, General Manager, China Eastern Airlines Oceania:

"I am very pleased to officially welcome the relaunched direct service between Shanghai and Brisbane by China Eastern Airlines. The service will boost trade and tourism between Queensland and China. Shanghai and Queensland share more than three decades as Sister States. We recognise the cultural exchange and business opportunities that will flow from this service, allowing expanded trade, tourism, education and more. We wish this service every success and we look forward to welcoming you onboard." 
From Brisbane Economic Development Agency (BEDA) CEO Anthony Ryan:
"We look forward to welcoming back visitors from Shanghai with the return of China Eastern Airlines today. Brisbane embodies the best of Australia, housing the country's number one hotel and restaurant, in addition to offering a diverse range of exceptional tourism experiences. Chinese visitors are invited to immerse themselves in our incredible city and contribute to the growth of our vibrant visitor economy." 
From Experience Gold Coast: Acting CEO Rachel Hancock: 
"Re-establishing connectivity between China and Southern Queensland marks yet another significant milestone on the road to rebuilding being our largest international market by visitors and expenditure pre-pandemic. 
"Our in-market campaigns are reigniting the appetite of Chinese travellers so that the Gold Coast is the first destination that comes to mind when planning a holiday, to study or visit. "  
Brisbane Airport and Future BNE 
The next decade will be the most transformational in the history of Brisbane Airport. 
To prepare for this future, it is investing over $5 billion in sustainable, transformational infrastructure that will deliver improved services, new facilities, and an exceptional airport experience. This growth will create jobs, drive innovation, and connect our communities-building a better airport for everyone.

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