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DESTINATIONS Australasia


a $9.23 billion contribution to Australia’s economy alone in the past year. There were more than 25 million


international inbound seats into Australia in 2016, with New Zealand remaining the largest market by visitor arrivals, up 3% in the year ending October 2016 to 1.34 million passengers. There are more than 425 flights per week between Australia and its neighbouring island, with capacity up 9.7% in the past year as additional city pairs and frequencies have been added. This market is worth around $2.03 billion in terms of visitor spend. However, it will soon be overtaken by


the strong Chinese outbound market, which delivers significantly more economic benefits. An estimated 1.17 million passengers arrived in the country from China in the past year, up 20% on the previous year thanks to enhanced connectivity between the nations boosting annual capacity by more than a third (35.1%). This market is currently estimated to be worth in the region of $6.75 billion annually in visitor spend, a number that is certain to rise thanks to recent changes to the air service agreement between China and Australia. Chinese and Australian airlines now have unrestricted international access into each other’s markets through this new arrangement for an “open aviation market” between the countries. This will pave the way in particular for China-based carriers to maintain their strong growth into Australia and add new routes from China’s emerging second and third-tier cities. The deal will certainly benefit


Chinese airlines more than their Australian counterparts due to the heavy bias in traffic flows outbound from China. However, Australia’s minister for infrastructure and transport Darren Chester notes


Qantas flies from Sydney to London Heathrow via Dubai International Airport


that there are also transfer benefits to the country’s long-haul operators. “We have also liberalised traffic rights


and code-share arrangements, which are important for Australian airlines,” he says. China is now Australia’s fastest growing major source market in terms of annual visitor traffic. O’Sullivan believes that key to the success has been moving away from traditional group tours and aggressively targeting China’s emerging middle class. Air capacity from China into Australia has almost trebled this decade, but it has not been the fastest-growing international market in terms of capacity. That has been Qatar, where again a more liberal approach to aviation regulation has allowed national carrier Qatar Airways to significantly grow flights into Australia from its Hamad International Airport hub. After debuting in Australia in 2009 with flights into Melbourne, Qatar Airways added flights to Perth in 2012 and in 2016 added both Adelaide and Sydney to its network. From June 2017, it will deploy its Airbus A380 into Australia for the first time on the Melbourne route, enabling it to double its daily capacity since the launch of link, while maintaining just the single rotation. Over this decade, the UAE has


Fastest growing major inbound markets into Australia Christopher Luxon


Rank Market 1


Qatar


2 3 4 5


Norwegian


Qatar Airways airberlin


China Eastern Airlines 38 ISSUE 1 ROUTES NEWS 2017 routesonline.com Inbound


seats (2016) 445,000


1,630,000 2,480,000 395,000


1,925,000 Source: AirVision Market Intelligence from Sabre Airline Solutions


Capacity growth since 2010 (%) 304.7 179.6 167.4 128.8 74.9


emerged as the third-largest origin market for capacity into Australia behind New Zealand and Singapore. For instance, Emirates now offers non-stop flights from Dubai International Airport into Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, with four of the five markets now served using A380s. However, it is also due to the introduction in April 2013 of a 10-year partnership between Qantas and Emirates for the Australian flag carrier to route its flights from Melbourne and Sydney to London Heathrow via Dubai International Airport, instead of via their former Asian route. The UK market and the famous Kangaroo


Route is important to Australia and it remains the third largest for annual


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