Sydney | Published on 29th October 2023 at 9:00

Qantas will depart Sydney for Shanghai this morning, returning to mainland China for the first time in more than three years.

The resumption of the Sydney-Shanghai route marks the final international destination to return to Qantas’ pre-COVID network since borders reopened.

Flights will initially operate five days per week with an Airbus A330 aircraft, adding more than 2,500 seats per week between Australia and China, and growing to over 4,000 seats per week when services increase to daily in late March next year.

Qantas International CEO Cam Wallace said the return to mainland China would benefit tourism and help strengthen important trade links.

“Adding Shanghai back on our network map is great news for our customers, especially those travelling for business or visiting friends and relatives in China as well as providing critical additional air freight between the two countries, Mr Wallace said.

“The business travel market is a key focus for this route, and we expect the recent trade developments will drive more travel between Australia and China.

“While demand from Chinese visitors wanting to travel to Australia is below the record levels that we saw prior to the pandemic, demand has been steadily climbing since borders reopened.”

With Qantas having connections to over 65 destinations across the country, Sydney will not only serve as an arrival point for inbound tourists but will act as a gateway for Australian’s travelling to China.

For the first three weeks of the resumption of the route, all Economy seats on Qantas’ Sydney–Shanghai services have been made available to book as a Classic Flight Reward seat using Qantas Points.

While Qantas and China Eastern recently withdrew their application to extend joint business, the airlines will continue to operate a codeshare agreement on routes between Australia and China which both airlines don’t operate, offering Qantas Frequent Flyers the opportunity to earn and redeem points on selected China Eastern flights.

Qantas also operates flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Hong Kong.

The restart of Sydney–Shanghai coincides with the launch of two other new international routes operated by QantasLink, Brisbane–Wellington and Brisbane–Honiara. Jetstar is also this week launching a new route between Brisbane and Tokyo (Narita).

As previously announced, the Qantas Group is adding more flights and new routes from this week to support the strong demand for international travel, with international capacity on track to return to 100 per cent of pre-COVID levels by the middle of next year.