China Eastern is set to launch direct flights between Nanjing and Sydney three times a week from December 21.

The move, which will see Sydney Airport’s position as Australia’s number one gateway airport for Chinese visitors, is set to provide a multi-million dollar windfall for the New South Wales economy.

“We’re delighted to announce a new route from one of our fastest growing carriers, less than a week after the NSW Government announced its China tourism strategy,” said Sydney Airport Chief Executive Officer, Kerrie Mather.

“This is fantastic news for tourism in Sydney and NSW and shows strong demand by the Chinese to visit our beautiful city.

“The historic city of Nanjing has a population of more than eight million people and is an important centre for commerce and trade in eastern China, adding to Sydney Airport’s already significant network of major China region cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong,” Mather said.

China Eastern will fly an A330-300 service between Sydney and Nanjing three times a week then onwards to Beijing, taking its total weekly services from Sydney to 12.

“Earlier this year, China overtook the US to become our second largest inbound nationality market, second to only New Zealand and we want to show that we are ‘China-ready’”, Mather said.

In related news, Sydney Airport will release a full Chinese version of its popular iPhone app in time for Christmas. The app will automatically display the Chinese or the English version, depending on user settings.

“Sydney Airport’s iPhone app is used more than 30,000 times every week and we hope that our Chinese passengers also use the app to check flight arrivals and departures and other airport information,” she said.

“Dynamic Chinese wayfinding signage will also be installed in the arrivals section of the international terminal in time for Christmas.

“Following the success of this year’s Red Ambassador program, we are doubling the number of Mandarin-speaking guides to 40 volunteers during next year’s Chinese New Year festival over January and February.

“We are so pleased with the response we received from the community, with 120 people expressing interest in improving the passenger experience for our Chinese visitors.

“Chinese New Year is the busiest time of year for our Chinese carriers because it’s traditionally a time for reuniting with family and our Red Ambassadors were so well-received this year that we’re doubling the number for Chinese New Year 2013.
“Sydney Airport is committed to improving our services for this significant and growing market,” Mather said.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management