13 Apr 2018
China flights to start in May
Darwin will welcome its first-ever flight from China in May.
The new non-stop service from Shenzhen will be conducted by Donghai Airlines from Wednesday 30 May 2018.

The new service is expected to bring thousands of Chinese visitors to the Northern Territory, with potential for 35,000 passengers a year injecting around $32 million into the local economy.

Chinese travellers spend more on average than other visitors and are an important market for the Territory.

The Territory currently attracts 18,000 Chinese visitors per year, however the new flights are expected to provide a significant boost to local tourism industry, and help the Territory reach its Tourism Vision 2020 target of 30,000 Chinese visitors a year by 2020.

Donghai Airlines President Yang Jianhong said the airline will commence services using a new Boeing 737-800, that later will be upgraded to the new B737 MAX 8.

The flights are expected to operate two times per week, flying on Wednesdays and Sundays from Shenzhen to Darwin and return, arriving into Darwin at 8:40am and departing at 5:25pm.

The Department of Tourism and Culture has been working collaboratively with the local tourism industry towards becoming a China ready destination. This includes making available Welcome China grants to assist industry with translations and other materials.

This year, a series of Chinese New Year festivities were held in the Darwin CBD to help develop a welcoming environment for Chinese visitors. The festival will return bigger and better next year.

A program was also undertaken last year to increase the number of Mandarin speaking tour guides certified to take groups into Kakadu National Park, with a similar program for Uluru-Kata Tjuta being held in May 2018.

Airline tickets will go on sale in China this afternoon with bookings ex-Darwin to be available by the end of April (subject to airline processes).