Qantas has linked up with online retail giant Alibaba Group to expand its presence in the fast-growing China travel market.
Under a memorandum of understanding, the Australian carrier will sell flights on Alibaba Group’s online travel website Fliggy, which is based in China.
The pair said in a joint statement on Friday that Qantas was the first Australian airline to have a “flagship store” on the website.
Moreover, the MoU would support “joint marketing campaigns to Alibaba Group’s 507 million mobile active users”.
“Qantas’s partnership with Fliggy forms another part of our growth strategy for China and the broader Asian region,” Qantas international chief executive Gareth Evans said.
“With travel between China and Australia booming, a Qantas booking page on Fliggy is an exciting opportunity for us to have a connection with younger Chinese travellers, who increasingly turn to mobile applications like Fliggy and online sites to research and purchase travel.”
Currently, Qantas offers daily nonstop flights from Sydney to Shanghai and Beijing while it also has codeshare arrangements with China Eastern and China Southern for Australia-China services.
In addition to about 20 international airlines, Fliggy, which was was previously known as Alitrip, also also sells a variety of travel products from online travel agencies and service providers.
Fliggy vice president Jerry Hu welcomed the addition of Qantas to Fliggy.
“With the popularity of mobile internet and its impact on commerce, Fliggy can provide brands with a large customer base, as well as facilitate direct communication with their customers,” Hu said.
“Fliggy can also provide consumer insights to help brands improve their marketing, membership system, services levels, and continuously optimise the consumer travel experience.”
The signing ceremony for the MoU was held on August 4.
Meanwhile, in Qantas domestic news, the airline said it would upgauge some of its flights to Hobart over the summer holiday period to cater for increased demand at that time.
Qantas said in a note to travel agents on Friday it would replace 110-seat Boeing 717s with 174-seat Boeing 737-800s on one return service on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from Hobart to both Sydney and Melbourne between December 16 2017 and the March 24 2018.
The move would add about 5,400 seats over those three and a bit months.