Two mainland Chinese carriers are set to expand their operations into Queensland this year, with Hainan Airlines due to launch a Shenzhen-Brisbane service from September 20 and China Southern aiming to begin direct flights between Guangzhou and Cairns this December.

Hainan Airlines’ new service follows the launch last year of its Shenzhen-Auckland flights, and will fly twice weekly using its A330-200 (which offers 36 lie-flat business class seats in a 2-2-2 layout, and 186 economy seats in a 2-4-2 configuration).

Details of the new service are as follows (all times local):

Flight No. From To Departs Arrives Days
HU411 Shenzhen Brisbane 2235 0930+1 Wed, Sun
HU412 Brisbane Shenzhen 1130 1840 Mon, Thu

The announcement of China Southern’s new thrice-weekly Cairns service, meanwhile, follows the launch in early June of its new Shenzhen-Melbourne non-stop service. Details of the service, such as days of operation and exact start date, haven’t been specified, and Business Traveller Asia-Pacific has contacted China Southern for confirmation.

“These flights from Guangzhou will provide more convenient access to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef for the world’s largest visitor source market,” said Cairns Airport CEO, Norris Carter. “In addition it opens up the ‘Canton Route’ for travellers to connect from Europe through Cairns. It will give our local residents another option for travelling to China that doesn’t involve flying south to head north.”

Some 218,000 visitors from China visited Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef for the 12 months ending March 2017, according to the latest International Visitors Survey.

“The Great Barrier Reef is at the top, by far, of the must-do travel aspiration list for Chinese people,” Carter added. “The China Southern service will give thousands more opportunities for Chinese visitors to fly direct to our destination and experience their number one-must do travel aspiration – the Great Barrier Reef and everything else on offer here.”

Hainan Airlines and China Southern aren’t the only mainland Chinese airlines with their sights set on Australia, however. In December last year, China Eastern Airlines began flying between Shanghai and Brisbane, followed by direct flights between Wuhan and Sydney in February this year.;