IN YET another sign that things are slowly returning to normal, China’s “big three” carriers have resumed flights Down Under.

A Boeing 787 operated by China Eastern Airlines’ fully owned subsidiary Shanghai Airlines touched down in Melbourne last month.

The country’s largest airline, China Southern Airlines, quickly followed suit, resuming services from Guangzhou. By the end of March, the airline will have 10 flights a week from Melbourne.

Xiamen Airlines, which has flown the only continuous service into Melbourne from mainland China through the  pandemic, has increased its frequency from once a week to three times a week.

Other Chinese carriers are also returning, with Sichuan Airlines recommencing flights from Chengdu, Air China flying three times a week from Beijing and Beijing Capital Airlines restarting service from Qingdao.

“These services will help bring hundreds of mainland Chinese tourists, business leaders and students into  Victoria every day, so the employment and economic benefits go much further than Melbourne Airport,” said Jim Parashos, Melbourne Airport Chief of Aviation.


Brendan McClements, CEO of Visit Victoria (left) and Jim Parashos, Melbourne Airport Chief of Aviation

IN MORE good news for Aussie travellers, Emirates has increased services to Sydney and Melbourne.

The airline will also restart services to Christchurch, New Zealand via Sydney, offering a new path for Australians across the trans-Tasman route.

From March 26, Melbourne will increase from two to three daily services between Emirates’ Dubai hub via Singapore, with a third direct service to also begin to Sydney from May 1.

The two new services will operate on a three-class Boeing-777 300ER offering passengers economy, business and first-class seats.

“To have the two cities operating back at pre-pandemic frequencies is a phenomenal milestone in our restoration of Australia capacity and testament to our longstanding commitment to flying Down Under,” said Barry Brown, Divisional Vice President Australasia at Emirates.