Qantas extends reach in China

THE Qantas group is extending its reach in China, which to the Australian flag carrier is a goldmine. Qantas chief Alan Joyce has said it once too often that it is where new opportunities abound for the aviation business.

Qantas Freight Enterprises, the international air freight division of the group that markets freight capacity on Qantas and Jetstar international passenger aircraft, made its inaugural scheduled freighter service from Sydney to Chongqing on April 20. The flight then continued onto Chicago via Shanghai. It is a weekly service for now.

Qantas Freight Enterprises Executive Manager Lisa Brock said: “This new services… strengthens Qantas Freight Enterprises freighter program by improving aircraft utilisation and adding network reach across mainland China.” With the addition of Chongqing, Qantas Freight Enterprises will be able to market freight capacity to nine ports in mainland China – the other eight ports being Shanghai, Guilin, Haikou, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Shantou, Guangzhou and Beijing.

Chongqing is a manufacturing hub, particularly for hi-tech electronic and automotive products. It looks like Qantas is making some headway in its China program before the market gets too hot with too many competitors vying for the same pie. It has recently signed an agreement with China Southern Airlines to base a joint-venture budget carrier (Jetsar Hong Kong) in Hong Kong, literally at the doorstep of the huge mainland China market, much to the consternation of Cathay Pacific Airways. But its dream to launch a premium carrier in Asia to attract the nouveau riche in China has been left in limbo for the time being.

Nevertheless, Qantas looks set to grow its Asian footprint, hoping in particular to penetrate deeper into the China market. Mr Joyce’s dream is to see a bigger share of the passenger pie as well.

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About David Leo
David Leo has more than 30 years of aviation experience, having served in senior management in one of the world's best airlines and airports. He continues to maintain a keen interest in the business, writes freelance and provides consultancy services in the field.

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