Feb 14, 2010

More seats on routes between Australia and China

More seats on routes between Australia and China

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

February 14 2010

More flights, greater competition and lower fares on routes between Australia and China are now possible following the signing of a new air services agreement.

Finalised in time for today’s Chinese New Year, the new arrangements will increase the available seats on routes between our two countries by 70 per cent by the end of this year.

The national airlines of both countries will immediately be able to offer up to 10,500 seats per week between Australia’s major gateway airports and China, and a further 4,000 seats from November. Previously, seat allocations were capped at 8,500.

The new agreement also provides:

  • A special capacity entitlement to accommodate new services between China and Brisbane, with 2,000 of the additional seats for Chinese airlines quarantined for flights into and out of the Queensland capital;
  • Further opportunities for Australian airlines to operate between China and other destinations such as Europe, while allowing Chinese carriers to operate to additional points beyond Australia; and
  • An opportunity for the airlines of both countries to operate via a larger number of intermediate points.

Significantly, the latest agreement contains a shared commitment to commencing negotiations aimed at concluding an ‘open skies’ agreement, an outcome that would remove most – if not all – of the existing limitations on Australian and Chinese airlines operating between our two countries.

Today’s announcement is a significant breakthrough, reinforcing the importance of our economic relationship with China, now Australia’s largest trading partner.

It will allow the airlines of both sides to better compete within the rapidly growing Asia-Pacific region and it positions the Australian aviation industry at the forefront of the rapidly developing Chinese market.

The Asia-Pacific is now the world’s biggest aviation market and last year alone, nearly 1.4 million people travelled between Australia and China. In fact, over the past 5 years passenger growth on routes between our two countries has averaged 16.9 per cent.

The new agreement marks further progress towards the Government’s objective, as outlined in our Aviation White Paper, of an open and competitive international aviation market.