Xiamen Airlines launched its inaugural service to Hangzhou today, opening up a new Chinese destination and topping off a busy year of international growth at Melbourne Airport.
Xiamen Airlines’ new route is now Melbourne Airport’s 12th to mainland China with flights already in operation to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Xiamen, Qingdao, Changsha, Xi’an, Chongqing and Zhengzhou.
Melbourne Airport Chief of Aviation Simon Gandy said the Xiamen Airlines service continues to strengthen Melbourne’s cultural and economic ties with China.
“We are delighted with Xiamen Airlines’ decision to expand into Hangzhou – the city that’s home to internet giant Alibaba and where third-party mobile and online payment system Alipay was established. The region is viewed as one of China’s most prominent tech hubs, and last year was host city to the G-20 summit,” said Mr Gandy.
“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. Further, Alibaba chose Melbourne as its base city, so there’s already a strong link in place.”
Mr Gandy said the China tourism market is growing at an unprecedented rate.
“Over the past three years we’ve seen China take the lead as our largest international tourism market and further over the past ten years passenger traffic from China has increased on average 15.8 per cent, each year,” said Mr Gandy.
“Airlines are realising the growth potential in Victoria, which is why we are experiencing such an influx in the Melbourne-China route. We now have nine airlines flying to 12 Chinese destinations offering great choice for Victorian travellers.”
In the 2017 calendar year Melbourne Airport added four new routes to mainland China including Hangzhou, Zhengzhou, Shenzhen and Chongqing.
Mr Gandy said to cater for the growing passenger numbers set to reach more than 60 million people by 2033 the airport is investing in the right infrastructure at the right time.
“The biggest part of our investment includes our proposed third runway, which is set to open by 2022,” said Mr Gandy.
“Earlier this month we opened our additional check-in and baggage reclaim facilities and also our new T2 Luxury Precinct designed with our largest inbound tourism market in mind and we look forward to travellers on Xiamen Airlines’ service experiencing the new level of retail and hospitality Melbourne has to offer.”
“On behalf of Melbourne Airport I thank Xiamen Airlines for the support and confidence in Melbourne and hope travellers enjoy the service.”
Xiamen Airlines non-stop service to Hangzhou will depart every Thursday and Sunday at 11:35am on a Boeing 787-800.