Melbourne and Chengdu airports to strengthen Australia ‐ China connections
Apr 17, 2012
A new ‘sister airport’ relationship between Melbourne Airport and Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport in the Chinese province of Sichuan will help to strengthen the growing Australia-China aviation relationship and links between Chengdu and Melbourne.
Melbourne Airport CEO, Mr Chris Woodruff, said the new relationship would benefit passengers, airlines and staff at both airports through the sharing of knowledge, expertise and industry insights.
“We are delighted to have signed this Agreement with Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport,” said Mr Woodruff.”
“China has driven international growth at Melbourne Airport over the last few years and will continue to do so. China is now our most important long-haul market.”
“With a population of over 5 million people, numerous spectacular natural attractions and cultural history dating back more than 2,300 years, Chengdu stands as one of China’s great cities and is now a major development hub for south west China with its aviation and transport infrastructure.”
“With our friends at Chengdu Airport, we will work towards attracting direct services between Melbourne and Chengdu. We will share knowledge, experiences and best practice in areas such as route development, operations, planning and retailing. Through this cooperation we will help facilitate greater visitation between Chengdu and Melbourne and enhance both airports for airline customers, passengers and all stakeholders alike,” said Mr Woodruff.
“An exciting aspect of the Agreement is for our staff as we’re looking to enhance our training program to include the experiences of Chengdu Airport through staff liaisons and exchanges.”
Victorian Minister for Tourism and Major Events Louise Asher said the Victorian Coalition Government welcomed the announcement.
“I am pleased that Melbourne Airport has been at the forefront of recognising the importance of the China market to Victorian tourism,” Ms Asher said.
“China is Victoria’s largest international visitor market. In 2011, more than 265,000 Chinese visitors to Victoria spent $816 million here.”
“Melbourne Airport is to be commended for continuing to develop their relationships in China.”
Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy welcomed the signing of the Agreement which, he believes will further strengthen aviation ties between Australia and China and ultimately facilitate additional aviation capacity between the two countries.
"Australia has experienced faster international visitor arrivals and expenditure growth from China than from any other tourism market, with a record 558,000 visitors for the twelve months to January 2012," Mr McEvoy said.
"The aviation market in China alone is enormous and growing at an exponential rate, as the Chinese government continues to invest heavily to develop its airlines and infrastructure, particularly its secondary airports.
"We're already seeing significant increases in aviation capacity out of China, and Asia more widely, to meet the region's burgeoning demand for air travel. And I think there's a lot more to come, especially from China's secondary cities such as Chengdu, where our research shows there is a huge desire to visit Australia.
"Better access and having more direct flights to Australia will clearly help convert more of this desire into actual visitation, and this starts with building strong aviation relationships such as this," Mr McEvoy concluded.
Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport is China’s sixth busiest airport for passengers and freight with approximately 26 million passengers a year. Chengdu Airport is located 16 kilometres south west of Chengdu City, Chengdu opened in 1938 and was used as a military base until December 1956. In 2009, a second runway was introduced and a new terminal building has also recently opened.