Darwin Airport and Haikou Meilan International Airport say they plan to work together to convince an airline to start nonstop services between the two sister cities.
The pair has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cooperate in securing an air link on the Darwin-Haikou route.
Darwin Airport director of commercial and aviation development Shane de Wit said there was great potential in the Australia-China market.
“With the increasingly close exchanges between Australia and Haikou, both Darwin International Airport and Haikou Meilan International Airport are confident there is scope to develop more routes to Australia and in particular to Darwin,” de Wit said in a statement.
“We are delighted to celebrate and formally acknowledge our relationship with Haikou Meilan International Airport with the signing of the MOU.”
Congrats to @Darwinairport on signing its MoU today with sister city Haikou Meilan International Airport at #WorldRoutes. The MoU is designed to work towards developing better air connections between Darwin and Hainan, China in the future. pic.twitter.com/1F91SHlg5M
— Tourism Australia (@TourismAus) September 22, 2019
Located on the island of Hainan in the south of China, Haikou has been a sister-city with Darwin since 1990.
Haikou Meilan International Airport, which has nonstop flights to Melbourne and Sydney from Hainan Airlines, is run by a subsidiary of China-based conglomerate HNA.
“The connection and relationship with Australian people is growing,” HNA Airport Group chairman Zhen Wang said.
“Haikou Meilan International Airport hopes to open a direct flight between Haikou and Darwin as soon as possible through the cooperation of both airports in the form of this Memorandum of Understanding.
“The MoU between two airports aims to strengthen the relationship and connectivity between the two cities and enhance the communication and exchange of the people of the two cities.”
Darwin has had a nonstop route to China since May 2018, when Donghai Airlines began Boeing 737-800 services between the Northern Territory capital and Shenzhen.
There were three other international routes from Darwin – Denpasar (Jetstar and Virgin Australia), Dili (Airnorth) and Singapore (Jetstar Asia and SilkAir).
The MOU was signed at the World Routes 2019 conference at the Adelaide Showgrounds on Sunday.
In other news from the event, Brisbane Airport was recognised for its work in attracting new airline services with a World Routes airport marketing award.
Brisbane Airport won in the 20-50 million passengers a year category, with the judges noting the seven Asian carriers had started new flights to the city over the past two years.
The winners were announced at the Adelaide Convention Centre on Monday evening.
— Routesonline (@routesonline) September 23, 2019
Full list of winners
Overall Winner: Budapest Airport
Over 50 Million Passengers
Winner: Singapore Changi
Highly Commended: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
20-50 Million Passengers
Winner: Brisbane Airport
Highly Commended: Athens International Airport
4-20 Million Passengers
Winner: Budapest Airport
Highly Commended: Malta International Airport
Less than 4 Million Passengers
Winner: Billund Airport
Highly Commended: Zagreb Airport
Winner: Tourism Ireland
Highly Commended: Promotur – Canary Islands Tourist Board
Winner: Puerto Rico Tourism Company
Winner: Wilco Sweijen, Director Route and Business Development, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
Winner: Qiongfang Hu, Section Chief, Airline Development Department, Traffic Development Division at Fukuoka International Airport
Highly Commended: Samuel Ferrera, Senior Analyst Network Development, Vueling