Hainan Airlines looks as though it will be further expanding its connectivity with Australia later this year as the mainland Chinese carrier recently announced flights between Shenzhen and Cairns starting December 19.

The airline carrier will fly the route twice a week using its A330, which features fully flat seats in business class (with massage functionality) along with Bose headphones and Bulgari amenity kits.

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

Flight No From To Departs Arrives Days
HU745 Shenzhen Cairns 2305 0830+1 Tue, Sat
HU746 Cairns Shenzhen 1030 1545 Wed, Sun


“It’s certainly exciting times, with Hainan the second airline to announce year-round services from mainland China to Cairns,” said Cairns Airport CEO, Norris Carter. “With over 80 per cent of our Chinese visitors currently using a domestic flight to get to or from Cairns, the Hainan service gives travellers the option of a shorter flight, no backtracking and more time to enjoy our destination.”

Hainan Airlines has had its eyes focused on the Australasia market over the past year, with new routes to Auckland from Shenzhen launched in December, and a new Shenzhen-Brisbane service set to take off later this month. Meanwhile last year, the carrier began flights from Xian and Changsha to Melbourne, as well as to Sydney.

Back in July, Hainan Airlines’ Fortune Wings Club frequent-flyer programme also entered into a loyalty tie-up with Virgin Australia’s Velocity scheme, enabling members to accrue and redeem miles on select routes operated by Virgin Australia and Fortune Wings Club member airlines.

It’s worth noting that Hong Kong Airlines, a subsidiary of Hainan Airlines and also part of the Virgin Australia loyalty tie-up, operates a triangular Hong Kong-Gold Coast-Cairns-Hong Kong route. Business Traveller reviewed the return service to Hong Kong via Cairns earlier this year.