China Southern plans to add Adelaide to its Australian network from December.
South Australian premier Jay Weatherill said on Tuesday the state government had signed an in-principle agreement for nonstop flights between Adelaide and Guangzhou to begin in December, with the deal expected to be finalised shortly.
The Airline Route website, quoting schedules filed with global distribution systems, said the three times a week service with Airbus A330 equipment was due to start on December 12 and operate as an overnight service from Guangzhou and a late-morning departure from Adelaide.
It will be Adelaide’s first nonstop link to mainland China. Cathay Pacific offers nonstop flights to Hong Kong, while the likes of Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines offer one-stop options to various points in China via Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, respectively.
Weatherill said China Southern’s new nonstop service would give the state’s economy a boost.
“Having a direct flight from mainland China will create jobs that extend well beyond Adelaide Airport – helping our tourism and hospitality sectors to take advantage of this growing market,” Weatherill said.
“We are expecting that the agreement to establish direct flights between Adelaide and Guangzhou will be signed in the coming days – and that flights would begin in December this year.”
Adelaide Airport chief executive Mark Young said securing China Southern as a new airline for Adelaide involved working together with the government.
“Our partnership approach with government is critical to working with our airline partners and we believe that together with the state government we have developed a strong relationship with China Southern,” Young said.
Currently, China Southern serves Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney from its Guangzhou hub and runs seasonal charters to the Gold Coast. Also, the Skyteam alliance member began service between Sydney and Shenzhen in January 2016.
At its peak, the airline operates 70 flights a week to Oceania, including its flights to Auckland and Christchurch in New Zealand.
China Southern had flagged an interest in serving Adelaide in April, when the airline signed a tourism agreement with the South Australian government.