China Eastern Airlines fuelling recovery with two new routes

Monday 6 November 2023

  • China Eastern Airlines is adding two new routes to Sydney Airport
  • Sydney-China seat capacity forecast to be 97% recovered by Christmas
  • Trans-Tasman competition is also heating up with 6 airlines now flying between Sydney and Auckland

Sydney Airport is forecasting seat capacity to mainland China to be 97 per cent recovered in December compared to pre-pandemic December 2019.

By the end of November, there will be 9 airlines with direct flights from Sydney to 14 Chinese cities, offering 85 weekly return services.

China Eastern Airlines is the latest carrier to boost capacity, announcing an Australian first route and its first ever trans-Tasman flight.

From November 28, the airline will be flying three return services per week on the A332 between Sydney and the city of Jinan in the Shandong province in Eastern China.

This is the first time there has been a direct flight between an Australian city and Jinan, famous for its exquisite underground springs.

From today, China Eastern Airlines is also restarting flights to Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province. This includes an Auckland to Sydney leg, which is the first time the airline has offered trans-Tasman flights.

Just before 1pm today, the inaugural flight from Auckland, MU712, touched down at Sydney Airport, with the next leg to Hangzhou due to take off at 3:10pm.

china eastern landing china eastern

With the new route and additional flights, China Eastern Airlines is now servicing five mainland China cities with 27 return services a week from Sydney.

Trans-Tasman competition heating up

With China Eastern Airlines adding its Auckland-Sydney flight, there’ll be more trans-Tasman competition just in time for the summer peak.

By the end of the month, 6 airlines will operate direct flights between Sydney and Auckland, one more than pre-Covid, with seat capacity 99 per cent recovered on pre-pandemic levels.

Airlines flying between Sydney and Auckland:

  • Qantas
  • Jetstar
  • Air New Zealand
  • AirAsia X
  • China Eastern Airlines

Geoff Culbert, Sydney Airport CEO, said: “It’s hard to believe seat capacity to China will be close to fully recovered by Christmas, considering we started the year with just four return flights a week.”

“That’s a remarkable turnaround and will have a significant flow on effect to our tourism sector, not just in New South Wales, but across Australia.

“I was in Shanghai on the weekend for the Prime Minister’s visit, and the excitement was palpable.

“It’s great to see China Eastern Airlines not just boost capacity into Australia but also adding its first ever trans-Tasman service.

“We now have six airlines flying between Sydney and Auckland, which is more than we had pre-Covid. Not only is this good news for Aussies and Kiwis crossing the ditch, but it’ll also encourage tourists from further afar to come visit both of our great countries.”

Mr Jim Young, General Manager of China Eastern Airlines Oceania said: “We are delighted to now offer direct flights between Sydney and five cities in China.”

“We extend a warm welcome to Australians to come and visit Jinan, a city rich in history and known as “the City of Springs”, as it has more than 700 famous underground springs.

“We would also like to extend our thanks to the New South Wales government and Sydney Airport for their ongoing support.”

Note to Editor

  • Photos of China Eastern Airlines flight MU712 from Auckland arriving at Sydney Airport can be found HERE

Sydney - Mainland China airline schedule (return services per week)

china eastern schedule