China Southern is to add a fifth Australian route to Cairns later this year, opening up the possibility UK-based travellers connecting from the carrier’s Heathrow-Guangzhou flights onto the north Queensland destination.

The new route was first reported by Business Traveller’s Asia-Pacific edition last month, and the schedules have now been confirmed by the carrier.

From December 13 flight CZ333 will depart Guangzhou at 2210 on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, arriving into Cairns at 0740 the following day.

The return leg CZ334 will leave the Australian city at 0940 on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, landing back into Guangzhou at 1515.

China Southern is advertising fares of £578 return for customers looking to fly from London to Cairns via Guangzhou.

But note the lengthly transit times in Guangzhou. The carrier currently flies twice daily from London into the Chinese city, arriving in at either 0710 or 1705, the latter meaning a five-hour stop in Guangzhou before flying onto Cairns at 2210.

On the return leg China Southern flights leave Guangzhou for London at 0055 and 0930, meaning nearly ten hours to wait following the Cairns-Guangzhou service arriving in at 1515.

The Skyteam carrier already offers flights to the Australian cities of Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, and Nick Newman, commercial manager for China Southern Airlines, UK and Ireland said that the new service would “give passengers scope to discover the entire East side without having to track back across covered ground”.