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Wednesday 1 November 2023

The spice is right. Sichuan Airlines back in Australia

Air travel to China from Australia is back to normal after Sichuan Airlines this week returned to Sydney Airport, marking a full complement of eight Chinese carriers operating between the two countries.

Sichuan Airlines returned to Sydney Airport after an absence of 45 months - just short of four years.

All eight Chinese airlines that flew through Sydney pre-Covid have now returned.

Sichuan Airlines links Sydney with Chengdu.

The airline’s inaugural flight into Sydney Airport was in December 2013, with services pausing from early February 2020, when Covid travel restrictions began in China.

At the start of the year, there were just three Chinese airlines flying a total of four return services between Sydney Airport and mainland China.

From November, eight Chinese Airlines and Qantas will have a total of 85 return services a week between Sydney and the Chinese mainland.

Sichuan Airlines is the only carrier offering direct flights between Sydney and Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan province in south-western China.

The city of Chengdu is the fourth largest by population in China and a strategic economic and financial hub in the region.

The airline is currently running three weekly return services, increasing to five per week from November 19.

 “A decade ago Sichuan Airlines first flew into Sydney Airport, and to welcome them back again after an almost four-year break due to the pandemic marks an important milestone in our recovery journey,” said Sydney Airport CEO Jeff Schubert.

“The return of Sichuan Airlines comes at a time when capacity to China is nearing pre-Covid levels, something that seemed impossible at the start of the year.

“We started the year with very few flights from China, but by November we’ll be 86% recovered, with more flights coming online in the coming months.

“The pace at which this market has returned has exceeded our expectations and will play a crucial role in supporting the recovery of tourism, business and student travel and the broader New South Wales economy.”

Airlines now flying direct services from Sydney to mainland China are Air China, Beijing Capital Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Qantas, Sichuan Airlines, Tianjin Airlines and Xiamen Airlines.

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