Air China has announced plans to further expand its presences in the Australian market with an increase in frequencies to Sydney and Melbourne, and the possible introduction of a new destination in the region.
The news comes just 11 months after the carrier last increased capacity to Australia by over 40%.
Air China currently operates ten services weekly to mainland China consisting of three non stop Sydney - Beijing services and four Sydney – Shanghai – Beijing services offering a daily schedule from Sydney. Melbourne – Shanghai – Beijing is served three times weekly.
The airlines National Sales & Marketing Manager, Mark Mulville, confirmed that an
additional two weekly frequencies would be introduced to meet growing demand to
China as both a business and tourist destination. “We will add one additional Sydney -
Beijing services which will depart from Sydney on Fridays while Melbourne – Shanghai –
Beijing will be increased to four times weekly with the introduction of a new Sunday
The forth service from Melbourne will commence from this Sunday 23 November while the eighth Sydney flight will be added from 12 December.
The new Australian schedule will see Air China operate a total of 12 return services a week to mainland China and provide a 480 seat increase to the market over current levels. “Our plan is to operate 21 flights a week to Australia by 2010 with double daily flights from Sydney, one each to Shanghai and Beijing, and a daily Melbourne – Shanghai – Beijing service. The latest increases bring us one step closer to our long term goal” said Mark Mulville.
The airlines General Manager Australia & New Zealand Ms Ma Ling said “with the new services in place Air China will operate more direct flights to mainland than any other airline, giving our passenger more choice and convenience”.
All 12 services are code shared with Star Alliance partner Air New Zealand.
Air China also confirmed it was considering commencing services to a third online destination in Australia or New Zealand within the next 18 months. Brisbane, Perth and Auckland are all under consideration but a firm decision is some time away.
While demand remains strong for China as a destination, Air China has also been successful in capturing significant volumes of traffic to Europe and North America via its Shanghai and Beijing hubs. For the first half of 2008 European & North American passenger numbers made up more than 30% of Air China’s Australian traffic.
Air China continues to operate all its Australian services with new Airbus A330-200s, which feature a two class cabin containing 34 business and 206 economy class seats.
Business Class offers electronic controlled angled lie flat sleeper seats with 60 inches of pitch, width of 55cm and a length, when fully extended, of over 190cm. Each sleeper seat reclines to an angle of 170 degrees. All seats feature multi system power sockets with 100w output for laptop computers.
Economy Class features ergonomically designed slimline seats offering a 34 inch pitch, more than any other airline operating direct flights between Australia and China.
Air China has also equipped the aircraft with AVOD (Audio Video on Demand) which is offered throughout that cabin on individual 10.4 inch LCD screens. The AVOD system features 60 Video, 100 audio and 10 electronic games channels to make long flights pass quickly. All passengers are also supplied with surround sound headphones for the AVOD system which is offered in Chinese and English as well as several European languages.