Qantas and China Eastern today announced a new joint venture, marking the start of a deeper level of commercial cooperation on flights between Australia and China. Under the five-year agreement, the airlines will deliver substantial benefits for customers and support the growing trade, tourism and corporate travel links between Australia and China. It is designed to complement the Qantas-Emirates partnership for Europe, Middle East and North Africa and the Qantas-American Airlines partnership for the US.
Air services between Australia and China have been identified as critical to the ongoing development of strong economic ties between the two countries.
China is now Australia’s largest two-way trading partner in goods and services, its largest goods export destination and its largest source of merchandise imports.
China is Australia’s most valuable inbound tourism market – projected to contribute up to $9 billion annually to the Australian economy by 2020. The airlines will now submit an application for authorisation to Australian and Chinese regulators. Subject to regulatory approval, it is anticipated that the joint agreement will commence in mid-2015.