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Adelaide Airport keen on nonstop US flights after welcoming China Southern inaugural service

written by Chris Milne | December 13, 2016

Adelaide Airport Ltd (AAL), having just achieved its ambition of securing nonstop service into mainland China, will turn its attention to targeting nonstop flights to the US.

AAL chief executive Mark Young said the advent of the Boeing 787 provided the opportunity for nonstop flights between Adelaide and the US west coast.

The potential might lure Qantas back to Adelaide, he said.

The national carrier does not operate any international services from Adelaide at present, having abandoned its Adelaide-Singapore route in March 2013.

Young, speaking outside the ceremony for the arrival of China Southern’s inaugural service into Adelaide from Guangzhou on Tuesday, said the airport was being realistic about the prospects for nonstop flights between Adelaide and the US.


Such services were probably two years away, when airlines had “bedded down” initial service with the long-distance Boeing 787, he said.

However, AAL would continue to hold talks with international carriers, including Qantas, on the prospects for non-stop US flights.

Meanwhile, he said AAL was delighted to welcome China Southern to Adelaide following about six years of negotiations.

Flight CZ662, operated by Airbus A330-200 B-6135, touched down in Adelaide at about 0940 local time, after a nine hour and 15 minute journey from China Southern’s Guangzhou hub.

The aircraft, which was welcomed to the city with an Airservices Aviation Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) monitor cross, was on the ground for about 90 minutes before taking off as the reciprocal CZ664 bound for Guangzhou.

China Southern planned to operate three times a week to Adelaide initially, to test the market, but has ambitions for daily flights on the route.

Previously the Skyteam alliance member operated several charter services into Adelaide but year-round scheduled flights from Guangzhou were secured after recent negotiations involving South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill, Tourism Minister Leon Bignell and officials from the SA Tourism Commission and Tourism Australia, as well as AAL.

China Southern chief executive Tan Wangeng, who flew into Adelaide on the inaugural service, admitted the airline had brought forward its plans to serve Adelaide after the SA delegation had convinced it of strong tourism and trade opportunities.

Weatherill said the new service offered exciting opportunities for SA in attracting Chinese tourists and boosting trade with China, which was the state’s largest export market.

It was estimated the China Southern link would add about $23 million to SA’s tourism revenue, he said.

The SA Government would not reveal incentives used to attract China Southern to Adelaide, but Bignell said the government and airline would work together on joint marketing.

The government also had worked with Chinese authorities to fast-track SA produce – particularly seafood – into Guangzhou and beyond, using eight to 10 tonnes of cargo space in the A330-200 to accelerate exports, he said.

The China Southern A330-200s used to serve Adelaide service are configured with four first-class, 24 business class and 188 economy seats.

Officials at Tuesday’s ceremony said the response from the public had been strong, with initial services fully booked.

It was understood at least 60 per cent of travellers on the route were outbound Chinese passengers.

At present, the government estimates Chinese visitors generate $240 million annually for the SA economy. The target is $450 million by 2020.

China Southern is the second overseas airline to start Adelaide service in 2016. Qatar Airways began daily Airbus A350-900 flights between Adelaide and Doha in May but wound them back to five a week in October.

China Southern, which with the start of its Adelaide service now has 56 flights a week into Australia, has signed a three-year memorandum of understanding with Tourism Australia in Adelaide.

Tourism Australia noted China Southern carried a fifth of all Chinese arrivals into Australia, more than any international carrier.

Tan said in a statement the airline was looking to grow its presence in this market.

“Australia is a market we value highly where we still see opportunities to expand our operations further, as demonstrated by our decision to add Adelaide to our global network,” Tan said in a statement.

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Comments (16)

  • Dave


    This guy must be delusional if he thinks Adelaide can support US direct services

  • David Bishop


    Hopefully there will be enough freight outgoing from SA into China Guangzhou to make it viable even if passengers ae not enough by themselves. It may be of some interest to Port Power fans to know that there is no better way to get to Shanghai to watch their team play Other routs take much longer & a lot more expensive. However the important thing is for the Chinese especially in & around Guangzhou to like South Australian produce demand as much as possible especially our wines & foodstuff. I look forward to a long a prosperous future for China Southern & its adventure into SA

  • Daveo


    Maybe not daily lax flights but definitely 3-5 flights per week.the experience traveling through east coast hubs is not good especially Sydney, I have even tried the air New Zealand option but missed connections made this most unpleasant. I would pay more to fly direct non stop to lax from adelaide.

  • Oskar


    I agree @Dave

  • Stuart


    So us Adelaide peep now have the choice of Air New Zealand, China Southern, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Qatar, Singapore Airlines and Malaysian Airlines for medium/long haul travel plus Tiger and Jetstar for the Bali run.

    Its a pity that our own national carrier can’t be bothered to support Adelaide with direct overseas flights.

  • Christopher


    Direct to the USA, really?! ADL is better off gunning for Fiji Airways to fly Nadi-Adelaide. Surely there is a market for a 2-3 weekly 737 service, aimed at the holiday market as well as a fresh option onwards to Hawaii/California.

    Also, I am surprised that BKK is not on their radar. Ideal for a 2-3 weekly Jetstar dreamliner service.

  • Daveo


    Stuart, you are spot on. I am a Qantas frequent flyer yet I have to use altenatives out of Adelaide for international travel.

    Also Qantas prices are on the high side, recently I did Adelaide LAX return through Air New Zealand business class for less than the one way price for Qantas!

  • Ante C


    I can’t see Adelaide-US flights happening at all in the near to mid-term future.

  • Charles


    ADL – LAX flights would probably work but also minimise the New Zealand services but I would love a
    B787 QF ADL – LAX!

  • Craigy


    @Stuart – So what routes do you suggest Qantas could fly that are profitable? I realise SA relies on handouts, but QF isnt a charity.

    @Daveo, And what evidence have you based your 3-5 flights per week for LAX ? I understand the misery of travelling through Sydney though

    It is all well and good to suggest routes but at the end of the day the reality of economics wins the day

  • Patrick


    Agree with Christopher that BKK should be on the radar… Thai would be a nice alternative to Singapore Airlines. Flying to SE Asia about every two months, SQ is usually the best option – however, the 1x/daily flight (with rare exceptions) has limitations and is quickly sold out. Wonder why SQ does not add more capacity; the route appears to have more potential.

    On another matter, Adelaide Airport still needs to sort out its international arrival facilities – ADL has the slowest international processing amongst Australia’s airports. With sometimes two planeloads waiting in long queues around the single baggage carousel, the arrival process in a warehouse-like ambience is an unwelcoming disgrace to an otherwise excellent airport. Often takes more than an hour between landing and exit…

  • Bob


    Perth’s LHR run is basically for PER,ADL,DRW,ASP traffic. Why can a ADL-LAX work the same?

    Oh yer, might effect AJ’s bonus prospects by trying something new.

  • adam riach


    ADL to Thailand should be the next push with jetstar 787 or thai 787. As it must be next most popular route for holidays after Bali. To the U.S a 3-5 times weekly flight via Honolulu would be better suited to ADL. So many South Australian’s do make that trip and the 787, has seating far more suited to ADL than the 744 or A380.

  • Ian Deans


    what chance Qantas?….They are not interested…..it’s not Sydney

  • Steve


    Is that supposed to be some place?
    Never heard of it.

  • Christopher


    Of vital note is that Skyteam now have Adelaide as a new destination for their alliance.

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