China Eastern has decided to begin year-round flights between Brisbane and its Shanghai hub as a daily service from December.
Originally, the Qantas partner and Skyteam alliance member had planned to serve Brisbane three times a week with Airbus A330 aircraft from November.
However, Brisbane Airport said on Thursday the year-round service will now be a daily offering, with the first flight scheduled for December 16.
China Eastern operated flights to Brisbane during January and February 2016 as a seasonal service.
Brisbane Airport chief executive Julieanne Alroe said China Eastern’s decision to fly daily was a “huge victory or the whole of Queensland”.
“Importantly, as China’s second largest airline, China Eastern offers a premium full service product trusted by high-yielding Chinese business and leisure travellers who now spend $1.2 trillion globally on tourism,” Alroe said in a statement.
“Regular direct flights into Brisbane will help capture a portion of this substantial and important market and direct visitors to some of Queensland’s most desirable tourist destinations via the most comprehensive regional network of any airport in Australia.”
The inbound flight, MU715, departs Shanghai Pudong Airport at night, arriving in Brisbane the following morning. The reciprocal MU716 takes off at lunchtime and lands back at Shanghai in the evening.
In August, Australia’s competition regulator approved China Eastern and Qantas’s application to partner on Australia-China services, albeit with conditions attached, for the next five years.
China Eastern flagged launching new services, as well as boosting frequencies on its existing routes to Sydney and Melbourne, as part of its submission to the ACCC.