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4 of Australia’s 5 busiest airports welcomed new services in the last 48 hours 

Capacity continues to ramp up at Australia’s major airports, with a raft of new routes, services and upgrades kicking off in the last 48 hours alone. Here’s a round-up of the latest launches across the country…

Capacity continues to ramp up at Australia’s major airports, with a raft of new routes, services and upgrades kicking off in the last 48 hours alone. Here’s a round-up of the latest launches across the country…

Sydney Airport 

At Australia’s busiest airport, the return of Sichuan Airlines on Monday marked the full comeback of the eight pre-pandemic Chinese carriers to Sydney. 

It also marks the return of the only direct link between Sydney and Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan province and fourth largest city in China. 

Sichuan Airlines flight 3U3884/3 will operate three weekly return flights between the cities, growing to five per week from 19 November. 

From November, eight Chinese Airlines and Qantas will operate 85 return services a week between Sydney and mainland China.

“A decade ago Sichuan Airlines first flew into Sydney Airport, and to welcome them back again after an almost four-year break due to the pandemic marks an important milestone in our recovery journey,” Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert said.

Sichuan Airlines is back in Sydney!
Sichuan Airlines is back in Sydney.

“The return of Sichuan Airlines comes at a time when capacity to China is nearing pre-Covid levels, something that seemed impossible at the start of the year.

“We started the year with very few flights from China, but by November we’ll be 86 per cent recovered, with more flights coming online in the coming months.”

Sichuan Airlines General Manager of Commercial Committee Deyun Wu said the carrier was “excited to open up the Chengdu to Sydney route and proud to welcome Australians to the home of the giant panda”.

“Chengdu is a city that offers visitors unique cultural experiences and natural wonders, from sacred mountains and bamboo forests to spicy Sichuan cuisine and tranquil teahouses,” he said.

On Sunday, Qantas returned to mainland China for the first time in more than three years, as it relaunched its Sydney-Shanghai service. 

Perth Airport

ANA has returned to Perth.
Touchdown in Perth.

On the West Coast, All Nippon Airways (ANA) recommenced flights between Tokyo and Perth on Sunday, with a seasonal service until late March 2024. 

Resuming in October 2024, ANA will then look to upgrade the service to a daily operation.  

“It’s great to see the return of ANA to Perth after three years,” Perth Airport acting CEO Kate Holsgrove said.

“When the Perth-Tokyo service was first launched in 2019 it was incredibly popular for both outbound and inbound travellers and we’re confident that it will prove popular again.

“The return of ANA is another success story for the Team Perth approach of working with tourism, businesses, exporters, and the State Government to grow the aviation sector in Western Australia.

“Perth Airport is focused on delivering more international flights for Western Australia and looks forward to working with the Tourism Minister Rita Saffioti to further connect Perth and Western Australia to the world.”

The Perth-Tokyo Narita (NRT) service will operate three times a week on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, utilising ANA’s B787-9 Dreamliner.

Brisbane Airport 

Brisbane Airport, which just unveiled plans for the biggest transformation in its history, welcomed back Qantas’ Brisbane-Wellington service on Sunday after an eight-year absence. 

The new service makes Qantas by far Wellington’s largest international airline in terms of flights and seats. 

“For travellers this means improved choice, competition and connections,” Wellington Airport CEO Matt Clarke said.

“Qantas is doing a great job to connect Wellingtonians and we can’t wait to see local travellers and international visitors getting on board at Wellington Airport this summer and beyond.”

Qantas International CEO Cam Wallace said the new service would boost two-way tourism between Brisbane and the NZ capital. 

“The launch of daily Qantas flights to Brisbane provides a new opportunity for Wellingtonians to explore Queensland, and just in time for the peak summer,” said Wallace.

“It’s also good news for tourism in New Zealand, helping drive more visitors to Wellington from Brisbane and beyond Australia, with great connections across Qantas’ extensive domestic network.”

Adelaide Airport

South Australia’s gateway welcomed Rex’s first Brisbane-Adelaide flight on Monday. Operated by carrier’s B737-800NG, the new service provides an extra 124,000 seats a year between the two cities. 

“The strong forward bookings show demand is roaring back as people realise that $149 is great value for money to fly with the airline which is Australia’s most reliable, with the best on-time performance and the lowest cancellation rate,” Rex Deputy Chairman John Sharp AM said at the launch of the flight at Brisbane Airport.

“Today also marks another new milestone for the Rex Group as Rex harnesses the resources of its group member, National Jet Express (NJE), to operate some of its services with its modern, fuel-efficient De Havilland Q400NG aircraft. For a start, NJE will operate Rex’s Perth-Carnarvon flights three times a week.”

Brisbane Airport’s Gert-Jan de Graaff said the inaugural service restores capacity between Brisbane and Adelaide to pre-pandemic levels.

Melbourne Airport

Though it didn’t welcome a new service in the last 48 hours, Australia’s busiest 24/7 airport saw a big uplift in capacity to the US.

Melbourne Airport told Karryon that United Airlines commenced daily flights to Los Angeles on Monday (up from three flights per week) and also up-gauged its MEL-San Francisco route from a B789 to a B777 yesterday.