Chi­nese flights on cards

Top End tourism industry hope­ful of Guangzhou bid


CHINA South­ern Air­lines has re-emerged as the front run­ner to start a di­rect flight ser­vice to Dar­win.

Industry sources say dis­cus­sions are fo­cus­ing on a tri­an­gle that takes in Dar­win, Cairns and the Gold Coast.

China South­ern will op­er­ate three flights a week from Guangzhou to Cairns from De­cem­ber. The ser­vices will be able to carry up to 33,000 pas­sen­gers a year. The new Cairns route serves as an ad­di­tional con­nec­tion to Aus­tralia for Lon­don­ers, with flights de­part­ing Heathrow for Guangzhou twice daily.

The industry source said if ne­go­ti­a­tions for Ter­ri­tory China South­ern ser­vices were suc­cess­ful then the Ter­ri­tory would sim­i­larly ben­e­fit from the Lon­don ser­vice.

Min­is­ter for Tourism and Cul­ture, Lau­ren Moss con­firmed she would be vis­it­ing Guangzhou in De­cem­ber for meet­ings with air­lines.

“We aim to at­tract 30,000 Chi­nese vis­i­tors a year to the Ter­ri­tory by 2020 and our on­go­ing ef­forts to at­tract di­rect Chi­nese flights will help to en­sure we achieve that tar­get,” she said.

“We are hav­ing on­go­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions with a num­ber of air­lines to at­tract di­rect flights from China.

“Both my­self and the Chief Min­is­ter have met with se­nior ex­ec­u­tives from var­i­ous air­lines. Of­fi­cers from my De­part­ment of Tourism and Cul­ture are in reg­u­lar con­tact with air­lines.

“In Au­gust, we hosted a mar­ket­ing del­e­ga­tion from a Chi­nese air­line and dis­cus­sions are on­go­ing with this air- line. The del­e­ga­tion was im­pressed with the progress North­ern Ter­ri­tory tourism op­er­a­tors had made to be­come China ready.

“A visit by an­other Chi­nese air­line is cur­rently in the plan­ning stages for later this year.”

China’s Dong­hai Air­lines, which re­cently launched its first in­ter­na­tional route from its home base Shen­zhen to Thai­land, has also ex­pressed in­ter­est in Dar­win.

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