Australia’s ‘it’ gateway welcomed its third international route THIS MONTH when Xiamen Airlines’ Melbourne-Hangzhou service took off over the weekend.

The first of the twice weekly 787-9 service flying via Xiamen touched down in Melbourne early Sunday morning, connecting the Aussie city to its 12th mainland China destination after Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Xiamen, Qingdao, Xi’an, Chongqing and Zhengzhou.

Melbourne Airport’s Chief of Aviation, Simon Gandy, said the airport was “delighted” by Xiamen Airlines’ decision to expand into Hangzhou and provide Aussies with an opportunity to explore the home of Alibaba and Alipay.

Melbourne Airport Xiamen Airlines 2

“Given the City of Melbourne’s focus on becoming Australia’s capital for startups and entrepreneurs, we see this route as pivotal to driving opportunities for Victorian businesses.”

Simon Gandy, Melbourne Airport Chief of Aviation

“Further, Alibaba chose Melbourne as its base city, so there’s already a strong link in place.”

Mr Gandy continued, saying that the service will also help the gateway reach its goal of 60 million people by 2033, which will be catered for with new infrastructure and retail options.

Melbourne Airport Xiamen Airlines 1

“The biggest part of our investment includes our proposed third runway, which is set to open by 2022,” said Mr Gandy.

Travellers flying between the two cities with Xiamen Airlines will have access to 237 seats in a three-class layout comprising four in first (in a 1-2-1 layout), 18 in business (in a 2-2-2 configuration) and 215 in economy (at nine abreast).

The new international service is the third for the Australian city this month, following Jetstar’s Melbourne-Zhengzhou flights and Air Canada’s Melbourne-Vancouver route. It also arrived less than 24 hours after the gateway become the first Australian city to receive regularly scheduled Qantas International Dreamliner services.

READ: Qantas to connect Victorians to San Francisco in 2018

READ: Air Canada launches services to a third Aussie destination

Have you flown into the Australian city recently?