Jetstar has secured the necessary traffic rights to begin nonstop flights from the Gold Coast to Wuhan due to take off in late September.
Australia’s International Air Services Commission (IASC) has approved the application from Jetstar’s parent company Qantas for “unlimited passenger capacity between points in Australia other than Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, and points in China other than Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou”.
“The capacity is intended to be used by Qantas’ wholly-owned subsidiary, Jetstar Airways Pty Limited (Jetstar), to operate services between the Gold Coast and Wuhan from 29 September 2015,” the IASC said in its determination published on Tuesday.
Under the current Australia-China air services arrangements, which were updated in January, Australian designated carriers can operate passenger and cargo services using any aircraft type without limitation on capacity and frequencies in each direction to and from all points in Australia other than Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth and all points in China.
The first flight of Jetstar’s twice weekly Gold Coast-Wuhan service, to be operated with 335-seat Boeing 787-8s, is scheduled on September 29. It is Jetstar’s first nonstop flight from Australia to mainland China.
At the route’s launch in May, Jetstar said the demand was likely to be driven by inbound travel to Australia, given Chinese company Dalian Wanda Group was supporting the route by helping to sell seats and travel packages to Chinese tourists looking to visit Australia.
Wuhan, which has a population of 10 million, is the capital of the Hubei province, which is situated in central China.
Dalian Wanda Group said in a statement it was proud to have helped broker the agreement that led to the start of flights between the Gold Coast and Wuhan through the support of its Hubei Wanda New Airline International Travel Services division.
Also, the conglomerate’s Wanda Ridong (Gold Coast) business is an major investor in a beachfront property development on the Glitter Strip.
While this will be the first scheduled service to China from the Gold Coast, the airport has received charter services from China Southern and Cathay Pacific in recent years.
The Qantas-owned Jetstar previously offered one-stop service from Australia to Beijing via Singapore.
Meanwhile, Jetstar Asia currently offers direct flights to three Chinese cities – Haikou, Hangzhou and Shantou – from its Singapore hub.