The bear necessities of air travel. Celebrating the start of Sichuan Airlines' new route to Australia are (left to right); Peng Gang, Economic and Commercial Consul (Counsellor Rank), Chinese Consulate General in Sydney; Sandra Chipchase, CEO, Destination New South Wales (NSW); Kerrie Mather, CEO, Sydney Airport; the Hon. Victor Dominello MP, NSW Minister for Citizenship, Communities and Aboriginal Affairs; and Li Haiying, President, Sichuan Airlines. The names of the two bears are not known. (Source: James Morgan)
- Sichuan Airlines has started its second service to Australia with the launch on 20 December of twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Fridays) flights from Chongqing (CKG) to Sydney (SYD). The 8,460-kilometre service will be flown with the airline's A330-200s and faces no direct competition. Sichuan Airlines' first route to Australia began on 28 February, when it launched thrice-weekly flights from Chengdu to Melbourne. Chongqing becomes the fifth mainland Chinese destination served non-stop from Sydney after Beijing (served by Air China), Guangzhou (China Southern Airlines), Nanjing (China Eastern Airlines) and Shanghai (Air China, China Eastern Airlines, Qantas). The service starts in Chengdu enabling same-plane one-stop connections between Chengdu and Sydney. Sydney Airport CEO, Kerrie Mather, welcomed the new airline and route, saying it would open up direct access to western China from Sydney. "China is a huge growth market for Sydney Airport and we’re very pleased that passengers will now be able to access western China directly from Sydney. This new service will provide more than 50,000 seats per year on the Chengdu-Chongqing-Sydney route. Chengdu is an economic, transport and communication hub, with around 14 million residents. Chongqing is an important industrial centre for manufacturing and transport, with a population of around 30 million people. A direct air link between Chengdu, Chongqing and Sydney will boost both tourism and business to Sydney, New South Wales and Australia." Click here to see how Sydney Airport's welcoming fire truck water arch salute compared with others.