Chinese carrier Tianjin Airlines has made its Australia debut with the launch of new three-times-weekly flights between Chongqing and Melbourne, which took off earlier today.
Business Traveller reported the airline’s original filing of the route back in January of this year, though it’s worth noting the flight times have since changed. Flights will depart Chongqing at 1010 on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, arriving in Melbourne the following day at 1140. The return leg then leaves Melbourne on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 1340 before getting back to Chongqing at 2140.
Tianjin Airlines is flying its Airbus A330-200 on the route – an aircraft it configures with 18 business class seats in a 2-2-2 layout and 242 economy class seats in a 2-4-2 pattern. Business class seats are the Zodiac Aura Lite Seat, which have 75 inches of pitch, 21 inches of width and offer 78 inches when converted into a lie-flat bed. Economy seats, meanwhile, have 32 inches of pitch and 18 inches of width.
The service is expected to add about 78,745 seats to and from Melbourne annually. “This service is great for Victorians as we’re able to facilitate travel on a new airline while opening up yet another destination into mainland China,” said Melbourne Airport’s chief of aviation, Simon Gandy.
“Chongqing is a major manufacturing hub for automobile, steel and aluminium industries and is considered a financial centre for China’s southwest. Chongqing is home more than 30 million people making it one of China’s biggest cities and as China is Victoria’s largest inbound tourism market, we anticipate this route to be a busy one.”
Melbourne has added a number of new flights to China over the past year, with many operated by Chinese carriers. Among these are Xiamen Airlines’ Hangzhou service, China Southern’s Shenzhen flights, and Jetstar’s Zhengzhou service, which is planned to take off this month.
Meanwhile Tianjin Airlines has had Australasia in its sights recently as well. Last year, it launched flights from Tianjin to Auckland, and there’s also a chance it may begin flying from Tianjin to Sydney in January.