Xiamen Air will add a second route out of Melbourne Tullamarine from December 2017 when it starts flights to Hangzhou.
The Skyteam alliance member has scheduled two flights a week with Boeing 787-8s that will operate via a Xiamen-Hangzhou-Melbourne-Hangzhou-Xiamen routing starting on December 16.
The airline already has nonstop Xiamen-Melbourne service which kicked off in June 2016.
Xiamen, which is 51 per cent owned by China Southern Airlines, is the seventh Chinese carrier serving the Victorian capital alongside Air China, Beijing Capital Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Hainan Airlines and Sichuan Airlines. An eighth, Tianjin Airlines, was due to commence Melbourne-Chongqing flights in late October.
Separately, Taiwan’s China Airlines and Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific also fly to Melbourne.
Xiamen’s 787-8s have 237 seats in a three-class layout comprising four in first (in a 1-2-1 layout), 18 in business (in a 2-2-2 configuration) and 215 in economy (at nine abreast).
Melbourne Airport chief of aviation Simon Gandy said Hangzhou would be the 11th nonstop destination in China from Tullamarine.
“China is currently our largest inbound tourism market for Victoria with 570,000 annual visitors,” Gandy said in a statement.
“With tourism between China and Melbourne booming, this new non-stop service to Hangzhou will continue to enhance choice for Victorian travellers.”
Hangzhou, located in the Zhejiang province in the eastern part of China and about 100nm south of Shanghai, has a population of about nine million and is the headquarters of Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba.
Xiamen’s new service will operate as an overnight service from Hangzhou on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and a late-morning departure from Tullamarine on Thursdays and Sundays.