Open Skies at Last With Japan… NT Woos China Southern

A landmark open skies agreement between Australia and Japan has been signed by the governments of both countries.

The agreement means that Australian and Japanese airlines can now offer direct flights between Australia and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.

Other elements of the agreement include the removal of capacity restrictions between all Australian and Japanese airports with the exception of Tokyo’s Narita Airport which will follow suit in 2013.

“The announcement further strengthens Australia’s strong bilateral aviation relationship with Japan and reinforces the importance of our economic links with one of Asia’s largest economies,” minister for infrastructure and transport Anthony Albanese said.

Meanwhile Northern Territory’s tourism minister, Malarndirri McCarthy has met with Tan Wangeng, president of China Southern Airlines in Guangzhou, in south east China.

China Southern Airlines is the premier brand name in China’s tourism industry, serving 898 cities and 169 countries across the world, and carrying 76 million passengers in 2010, making it the largest airline in Asia and the fourth largest in the world.

“China is the fastest growing international visitor market for Australia – up 26% from last financial year – and a primary target market for the NT,” minister McCarthy said from Guangzhou. The potential of growth of this market is limited by the lack of direct services between China and the NT,” minister McCarthy said.

“With the opening of air service to Perth, China Southern is expanding its network to the west coast of Australia. In order to promote and maintain the new west coast flight, China Southern needs to find new destinations and products; and the NT provides a suitable option.”

China Southern currently operates 24 flights each week one-way to Australia. The flights operate from Guangzhou to Australia (Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney) with estimated 8,000 weekly seats one-way into Australia connecting over 80 cities beyond Guangzhou.

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