Saturday the 12th of November saw the inaugural arrival for the new Air China service, direct from the central Chinese hub of Chengdu. This marks the third scheduled connection that Air China services between the Chinese mainland and Sydney. (Beijing and Shanghai being the other two)
The new service is expected to boost incoming tourist numbers by 23,000 per year, and bring an expected $89 million dollars to the local and national economy. Huge Numbers! By the end of November, Sydney airport will host flights from 7 Chinese airlines flying to 13 different destinations all around China which makes it the largest contributor to tourism in NSW bar none, and providing Aussie's with an endless list of destinations to explore.
Chengdu is the major gateway into western China, and offers a wide array of attractions for the Australian traveller, most notably the Panda sanctuary, the famously spicey food and for the business travellers, an economy that's among the fastest growing in the world.
On the flip side, Australia, and particularly Sydney, is booming as a market for Chinese tourists keen to get a taste of our fine produce, beautiful beaches and at this time of year, warm weather!
Air China have selected their A330-200 aircraft for the new service, with 237 seats (30 business class) on a 3 times per week schedule. B-6541 set the scene today as CA429 which touched down a little after 12:30pm. The aircraft completed a planned missed approach on Rwy 34L prior to a low level fly past of the Sydney CBD - One of the pilots shared some images with me at the media event, that he took from the cockpit window of the harbour city, absolutely breathtaking!
Sunday, Tuesday and Friday: CA429 departs Chengdu at 2225, arrives Sydney 1235+1
Monday, Wednesday and Saturday: CA430 departs Sydney at 1435, arrives Chengdu 2235
Here are some images from the event. with a few behind the scenes shots mixed in.