Saturday, February 28, 2015
Air capacity to China to triple

A landmark new air services agreement has been signed between Australia and China. The new deal with China will allow Chinese airlines to almost triple their services to Australia over the next two years.

Under the new arrangements, Australian and Chinese airlines will be able to immediately operate up to 26,500 seats per week between Australia's major gateway cities and Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, an increase of 4,000 weekly seats or around 18% on these routes.

A further 7,000 weekly seats to and from these destinations will be phased in over the next two years, to a total of 33,500 weekly seats.

The new arrangements build on the success of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) concluded recently with Beijing.

Airlines can continue to offer unlimited passenger services between China and regional Australian ports, such as Cairns, Adelaide, Darwin and the Gold Coast. When operating services to/from all cities in Australia other than the Australian major gateways (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth), airlines of both sides are allowed open capacity.

When operating services between the Chinese major gateways (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou) and the Australian ones, airlines of both sides may operate the following:

  • With immediate effect: 26,500 seats each way each week.
  • From October 2015: 30,500 seats each way each week.
  • From October 2016: 33,500 seats each way each week.
In addition, airlines of both countries linking an Australian major gateway and another city in Australia as part of a multi-stop international service, may operate an extra 2,500 seats each way each week.

A phased expansion of traffic rights at beyond and intermediate points has also been negotiated. By October 2016, airlines of each side will be able to access an additional three beyond points of choice (except for points in North America) and an additional six intermediate points.

These rights provide access to Australian airlines to fly beyond China to a variety of locations, including Europe, and will offer greater flexibility for airlines flying to China via intermediate points in Asia.

Total capacity between Australia and China will almost triple from the current limit of 22,500 seats to 67,000 seats a week by 2016.
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