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Direct flights between Perth and Shanghai set for trial in October with China Eastern Airlines

WA Premier China tour - Premier Mark McGowan with China Eastern chairman Liu Shaoyong in Shanghai
WA Premier China tour – Premier Mark McGowan with China Eastern chairman Liu Shaoyong in ShanghaiPicture: Gary Adshead

A trial of direct flights between Perth and Shanghai could start in October next year after Premier Mark McGowan received a commitment from the chairman of China’s second biggest airline at a meeting in Shanghai yesterday.

China Eastern Airlines, which already flies daily to Sydney and Melbourne, offered to investigate the viability of bringing thousands of passengers to WA for the first time.

Mr McGowan said that the meeting progressed further than he had anticipated and the WA Government and the Perth Airport Corporation would continue discussions to make the groundbreaking new travel route a reality.

Any deal is likely to involve some financial concessions around airport fees and a joint marketing campaign.

“They have committed to trial flights to determine the commerciality and viability of permanent flights into Perth,” he said.

“They are rapidly expanding their aircraft fleet and we have to make sure we are an available and welcoming destination for them.”

Mr McGowan’s meeting with China Eastern boss Liu Shaoyong was the final engagement after the Premier-led delegation from WA’s education and tourism industries through the communist country.

The seventh biggest airline in the world, China Eastern flew 640,000 passengers to NSW last year and tourism operators in Perth say a deal with the company would be a game changer as China’s wealthy middle-class continues to grow.

Tourism Minister Paul Papalia, who was in Shanghai for the meeting along with Perth Airport chief executive Kevin Brown, said China Eastern was tapped into cities that had as many as 27 million people, many of whom wanted to travel.

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