Chinese superjumbo bound for Australia

Australian travellers are more spoilt for choice than ever with the news that another airline, China Southern, is to introduce A380 flights direct to Sydney.

The airline on Saturday announced the luxury superjumbos will be used on flights between Sydney and Guangzhou from October 27.

It joins other airlines including Qantas, Emirates and Singapore Airlines which are already flying the world's biggest passenger jet to Australia.

Air capacity in and out of Australia has increased steadily over the past three years. Qantas has just stepped up its offering with a partnership with Emirates, plus we have seen the emergence of other airlines such as China Eastern and Sichuan out of Asia, Etihad and Qatar out of the Middle East, and low-cost carriers such as Scoot and Air Asia.

Tourism Australia, which is investing $15.7 million in marketing campaigns with 20 airlines this year, said its goal of increasing flights in and out of Australia by up to 50 per cent from 2010 to 2020 was ahead of target. It said aviation on Australian routes grew about 5 per cent last year and was outperforming global growth.

China Southern, which has a chequered report card from passengers about its on-board quality, will also introduce the latest A330-generation aircraft on flights out of Sydney and Melbourne.

The planes, already flying out of Perth and Brisbane, include flatbeds in business class and personal TVs in economy.

"These are state of the art planes," said China Southern executive Chen Gang, who announced the airline's improved offering at the annual Australian Tourism Exchange in Sydney on Saturday.


He said China Southern would also deploy a pool of 400 English-speaking cabin crew across the airline's network, including the Australian routes.

China Southern last year started the "Canton route" between Australia and London via Guangzhou, as an alternative to Dubai and Singapore for Australians to fly to Europe.

Guangzhou is a modern airport built in 2004 and among the top 20 busiest in the world.

A drawback is that Australians need to obtain a visa to stop-over there, however Mr Chen said approval was expected soon for a 72-hour visa-free stay policy, similar to the policy in Beijing and Shanghai.

"Our Canton Route is the new and exciting way for Australians to fly and we are absolutely thrilled that they will soon be able to stop over in a vibrant city with a free transit permit to try some Cantonese yum cha and enjoy the local culture ...," he said.

China Southern A380 features

First, business and economy class

Private suites in first class

Large personal table

Mini bar

Flat bed seats in premium classes

Personal TV in all classes

Cantonese and Western food

China Southern A330 features

First, business, economy plus and economy classes

Flatbeds for premium classes

Personal TV in all classes

Cantonese and Western food