7 May 2011 © David Eyre
Negotiations are continuing to finalise a marketing plan, flight schedules and a start date for a new services. Aircraft type has not yet been announced.
China Southern started flights to Brisbane on 1 November 2010, using Airbus A330s. The airline already operates daily from Guangzhou to Melbourne and twice daily flights to Sydney, using Boeing 777s.
From a State Government media release dated 7 May 2011:
“The WA State Government has signed an agreement with Asia’s biggest airline, China Southern Airlines, towards the introduction of direct flights between Perth and China.
The co-operative agreement, which could give Western Australia direct access to the world’s biggest tourism market for the first time, was sealed at a signing ceremony in Guangzhou today attended by Tourism Minister Kim Hames, Tourism WA CEO Stephanie Buckland, Westralia Airports Corporation CEO Brad Geatches and China Southern Airlines’ President and CEO Tan Wan Geng.
“Gaining direct air access to the massive Chinese tourism market is a top priority of the State Government and Tourism WA,” Dr Hames said. “The securing of an agreement with China Southern Airlines, one of the world’s great airlines, for direct flights to Perth would give the State’s tourism operators a tremendous boost.”
China Southern Airlines is the largest airline in China and has hubs in Guangzhou and Beijing. Using a fleet of more than 400 Airbus, Boeing and Embraer aircraft, China Southern operates an extensive domestic network within China, as well as international services to the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and Australia.
“Not only is China Southern one of the world’s largest airlines, but it has an excellent safety record and a reputation for quality service,” the Premier said.
“And of course it already has strong links with WA following the establishment of its Flying College campuses at Jandakot and Merredin in 1993.”
Mr Barnett said that not only would a direct service boost WA’s tourism industry, but would also benefit the already strong trade and business links between the State and China.
“WA contributes about 70 per cent of Australia’s exports to China,” he said. “As a result, Perth is already a high-yield route from China, with 33 per cent of passengers travelling for business or employment.” In 2010, 12,000 Chinese visitors came to WA, an increase of 32.1 per cent on 2009.
“The potential of the Chinese market is incredible,” Dr Hames said. “But currently WA only attracts about three per cent of Chinese visitors to Australia, and the Government and Tourism WA want to rectify that and significantly increase our share of the Chinese market. “Clearly, direct flights will greatly assist in meeting that challenge.”