Cairns Airport sees return of direct China flights

A China Eastern Airbus A330 lands at Cairns Airport.
Photo Credit: Cairns Airport

Cairns, a picturesque gem nestled in Tropical North Queensland, has seen the first direct flight from China in nearly four years land at its airport this week.

The arrival of China Eastern Airlines flight MU571 from Shanghai marks the commencement of seasonal flights coinciding with the Chinese New Year festivities.

This event heralds a promising influx of Chinese tourists eager to celebrate the Year of the Dragon amidst the stunning landscapes of Tropical North Queensland.

Significance of Direct Flights

Richard Barker, the Chief Executive Officer of Cairns Airport, underscores the significance of this momentous occasion for the region and local operators.

“China is a key inbound tourism market,” Barker emphasizes, highlighting the profound impact of these direct flights as the first since the onset of the pandemic.

The resumption of direct seasonal services is poised to catalyze the resurgence of visitors from China, bolstering the tourism sector’s recovery efforts.

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Photo Credit: Cairns Airport

A Milestone for Tourism

The absence of direct flights from China since 2019 has been keenly felt, with the pandemic exacerbating the hiatus. Mark Olsen, Chief Executive Officer of Tourism Tropical North Queensland, expresses elation at the return of these flights with China Eastern Airlines’ seasonal service.

Olsen underscores the symbiotic relationship between international aviation access and the region’s tourism revival, emphasizing Cairns’ readiness to welcome visitors from China.

Economic Implications

Prior to the pandemic, China constituted the largest international market for Tropical North Queensland, contributing substantially to the regional economy.

Tourism Minister Michael Healy emphasizes the economic significance of these seasonal flights, which not only boost tourism but also facilitate the gradual resurgence of international markets.

A China Eastern Airbus A330 lands at Cairns Airport.
Photo Credit: Cairns Airport

The return of the Chinese market marks a pivotal milestone in rebuilding international aviation connections and revitalizing the tourism industry.

Flight Details

Operating the Airbus A330 widebody aircraft to Cairns, China Eastern Airlines cabin configuration offers a total of 29 business and 203 economy seats.

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The arrival of China Eastern Airlines flight MU571 in Cairns from Shanghai has marked the first return of direct China flights in nearly 4 years.
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