Xiamen Airlines has commenced a second nonstop service between Melbourne and mainland China with the start of flights from Hangzhou.
Flight MF813, operated by Boeing 787-8 B-2763, landed at Melbourne Airport a little after 0940 on Sunday, following its 10 and a half hour journey from Hangzhou.
The aircraft was on the ground for about two and a half hours before operating the reciprocal MF814 back to Hangzhou, which is located in the Zhejiang province in the eastern part of China and about 100nm south of Shanghai.
The city has a population of about nine million and is the headquarters of Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba.
“We are delighted with Xiamen Airlines’ decision to expand into Hangzhou – the city that’s home to internet giant Alibaba and where third-party mobile and online payment system Alipay was established. The region is viewed as one of China’s most prominent tech hubs, and last year was host city to the G-20 summit,” Melbourne Airport chief of aviation Simon Gandy said.
Xiamen, which is 51 per cent owned by China Southern Airlines, one of eight Chinese carriers serving Melbourne alongside Air China, Capital Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Hainan Airlines, Sichuan Airlines and Tianjin Airlines, which started serving Australia at the start of November.
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).
The new service will operate twice a week, with departures from Hangzhou on Wednesday and Saturday nights, and departures from Tullamarine on Thursday and Sunday lunchtime.
The Skyteam alliance member first served Melbourne in June 2016, when it commenced flying nonstop from Xiamen.