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Qantas & China

Can anyone explain to me why Qantas operates only a single daily flight to China, namely to Shanghai? Why don’t they operate direct flights to cities such as Beijing?  China is Australia’s fourth largest source of tourists – in 2009 366,000 tourists came from China – and many Australians are now visiting Chinas for business and tourism reasons – 278,000 in 2009.  I ask this because a Chinese operator – China Southern Airlines – is now quadrupling it flights to Australia. It will now offer twice-daily flights from Guangzhou to Sydney, daily flights to Melbourne and three flights per week to Brisbane. By March it plans to have twice-daily fights to Melbourne, daily flights to Brisbane and, if successful, flights to a fourth city such as Cairns. Where is our national carrier Qantas in all this?

Is Qantas still seeking to form formal alliances with British Airways or other over-indebted European duds? What sort of culture at Qantas creates this type of outdated thinking? Tourism to Britain is an important markket but in 2009 tourism revenues froim the Brits fell 6% – from China it grew 28%! The natural alliance for an Australian carrier is with a large, prosperous and forward-looking carrier such as Singapore Airlines.   And Australia should be more actively pursuing the Chinese market.  Tourism Australia expect 830,000 Chinese tourists to be visiting Australia by 2020.

9 comments to Qantas & China

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  • conrad

    China Southern is the worst airline I’ve ever taken. If you catch them, don’t say you wern’t warned (although hopefully they’ve gotten better since I took them many years ago).

  • hc

    Actually, Conrad I flew once on them earlier this year and found them OK. I’d heard terrible stories but the food etc was fine. The only catch was that even by contemporary crammed air carrier standards the seating was tight.

  • Uncle Milton

    Qantas can’t unilaterally decide to fly more to and from China. These things are tightly regulated.

  • hc

    I understand there are complexities in negotiating Air Service Agreements but the normal rule is a 50:50 split of capacity isn’t it? And my understanding is that Qantas gave up capacity during the GFC.

  • conrad

    It’s punctuality that matters in my books, and not food — I think there is a list somewhere documenting punctuality, and they at least used to be one of the worst airlines in the world for that. In addition, when things go wrong, which is all the time, they’re woeful.

  • ken n

    I think Qantas has tried Beijing and could not make money.
    They are not interested these days in investing in a route to build it up.
    And if I was running an airline in this environment I’d probably take the same view.

  • Krystian

    Qantas hardly flies anywhere – especially from Melbourne. I reckon they need to decide whether to step up and compete directly with the Emirates and Singapore Airlines of this world or resign themselves to just linking a few key destinations with Sydney and two or three with Melbourne.

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