Qantas has restarted direct flights to Shanghai in China for the first time in more than three years.
The first Sydney-Shanghai flight took off on October 29, 2023, and marks the final international destination to return to Qantas’ pre-COVID network since borders reopened.
The Australian flag-carrier has also announced that the airline is adding another direct service between Australia and Europe.
From July 2024, Qantas will fly directly to Paris from Perth which compliments the carrier’s direct flights from Australian city to London and Rome.
The new year-round route will see Qantas operate to the French capital for the first time in nearly two decades, cutting around three hours off the current fastest travel time from Perth to Paris.
From July 12, 2024, the 17-hour Perth-Paris flights will initially operate four days per week (during the peak European summer) with the airline’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. Services will then move to three per week from mid-August 2024.
The launch of the new route comes just in time for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“We’re the only airline offering these direct flights rather than going through a mid-point because the key market we serve is Australia. Our in-flight service is designed with long-haul travel in mind,” Qantas Group CEO Vanessa Hudson said.
Hudson added: “The schedule we’ve announced today will add more than 75,000 seats between Australia and Europe each year and we’ll be working with Tourism WA to help make the most of the opportunity to bring tourists here, knowing that direct flights are a big factor in people deciding where to travel.”
The Shanghai flights will initially operate five days per week with an Airbus A330 aircraft, adding more than 2,500 seats per week between Australia and China, and growing to over 4,000 seats per week when services increase to daily in late March 2024.
“Adding Shanghai back on our network map is great news for our customers, especially those travelling for business or visiting friends and relatives in China as well as providing critical additional air freight between the two countries. The business travel market is a key focus for this route, and we expect the recent trade developments will drive more travel between Australia and China,” Qantas International CEO Cam Wallace said.
Wallace added: “The business travel market is a key focus for this route, and we expect the recent trade developments will drive more travel between Australia and China. While demand from Chinese visitors wanting to travel to Australia is below the record levels that we saw prior to the pandemic, demand has been steadily climbing since borders reopened.”
Qantas also operates flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Hong Kong.