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Last piece of the puzzle: Qantas returns to China

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

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

Linking Australia’s and China’s largest cities, the resumed route also marks the final destination to return to the flying kangaroo’s pre-pandemic network.

The service will add over 2,500 seats per week between Australia and China on five return flights before adding more than 4,000 seats per week on daily flights from late March next year.

The Aussie carrier will use its A330 aircraft on the route.

Qantas International CEO Cam Wallace said the return to mainland China would help boost two-way tourism and trade.

“Adding Shanghai back on our network map is great news for our customers, especially those travelling for business or visiting friends and relatives in China as well as providing critical additional air freight between the two countries,” he remarked.

Karry On - Perth Shanghai
QF is back in Shanghai.

“The business travel market is a key focus for this route, and we expect the recent trade developments will drive more travel between Australia and China.

“While demand from Chinese visitors wanting to travel to Australia is below the record levels that we saw prior to the pandemic, demand has been steadily climbing since borders reopened.”

To mark the carrier’s return to China, all Economy seats on the Sydney–Shanghai service are available to book as a Classic Flight Reward seat using Qantas Points for the first three weeks of the resumption of the route.

Meanwhile Wendy Wu Tours has welcomed the return to China.

“It’s a significant and positive step towards reviving tourism from Australia to China,” Wendy Wu Managing Director for Australia Simon Bell said.

“Aviation is the key to unlocking accessibility and interest in this destination and is vital to help re-establish Shanghai as a hub for Aussie travellers wanting to visit China.

“This new connection is a strong vote of confidence that will hopefully help drive and strengthen interest and bookings from the Australian visitor market in 2024 and beyond.”

Qantas A330 aircraft
An A330 aircraft.

Qantas recently withdrew its application to extend joint business with China Eastern Airlines, but will continue to codeshare with the Shanghai-based carrier on Australia-China routes neither airline operates.

The withdrawal followed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) move to block continuing coordination between Qantas Group entities (including Jetstar) and China Eastern Airlines in September.

Qantas also flies from Sydney and Melbourne to Hong Kong.

Capacity grows, but so do fares

Yesterday, Qantas also revealed that the first nonstop flights between Australia and France will commence on 12 July 2024, with the announcement that the flying kangaroo would return to Paris after nearly two decades.

Overall, the Qantas Group’s international capacity is set to rise to over 90 per cent of pre-COVID levels by year-end and is projected to fully recover by mid-next year thanks largely to the recent introduction of new aircraft.

On Friday, Qantas and Jetstar increased airfares by an average 3.5 per cent and three per cent respectively as the cost of fuel skyrockets amid conflict in the Middle East.