Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines is responding to increased demand for services between Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) and Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport (SYD), with the carrier planning to expand its daily service between the two cities to 11x weekly from June 23rd. Sydney-siders welcomed this, with China Eastern only increasing their operations to daily from February 2nd this year onward.

The airline already operates a daily service between PVG and SYD with its state-of-the-art Airbus A350-900. However, the additional services will be facilitated by the Boeing 777.

An improved schedule

11 weekly services will take off from Juen 24th, following the below schedule:

Existing service (operated by an Airbus A350-900):

  • MU562, departing from Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport (SYD) at 11:00, arriving at Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) at 19:15
  • MU561, departing from PVG at 20:45, arriving at SYD at 09:00 the next day

Additional flight (operated by a Boeing 777), operating northbound on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays:

  • MU736, departing from SYD at 20:30, arriving at PVG at 05:15 the next day
  • MU735, departing from PVG at 00:10, arriving at SYD at 12:35

According to the airline's website, MU562 / MU561 will include three classes of service, Economy, Premium, and Business, with the additional flights MU736 / MU735 operating a two-class service with Economy and Business available. Per, the last time the carrier serviced Sydney up to twice daily was back in 2020, with the last time MU736 took off from Sydney on October 2nd, once operated by the carrier's Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

Australians are rolling out the welcome mat for Chinese arrivals.

As previously reported by Simple Flying, China's zero-COVID policy is now a thing of the past, and demand is gaining momentum. Since February this year, China Southern has increased its capacity between Sydney and Guangzhou multiple times, operating up to ten weekly services since March 26th. Air China also resumed operations in Sydney on February 3rd, initially with three weekly services.

Amsterdam, Netherlands - October 8, 2022: China Eastern Airbus A350-900 airplane at Amsterdam Schiphol airport (AMS) in the Netherlands.
Photo: Markus Mainka / Shutterstock

Pre-pandemic, Chinese arrivals were the most significant source of tourism spending down under, with up to 1.4 million visitors spending up to AU$12.4 billion ($8.37 million) a year. For instance, before COVID-19 put the breaks on international aviation, Chinese flights into Melbourne peaked at 70 per week.

Find more news about Asian aviation here.

A 75% goal

With international operations now firmly back on Chinese carrier's radar, the China International Capital Corporation (CICC) predicts that financial recovery for the Chinese big three may return to the black “might be faster than market expectations.” The CICC expects international and regional operations to return to at least 60% of pre-2019 levels this year.

The Civil Aviation Administration Of China aims to recover at least 75% of pre-pandemic levels by the end of this year, which amounts to at least 460 million passenger trips. This is in comparison to almost half of that, with Chinese travel reaching only 252 million passenger trips in 2022.

China Eastern Airbus A330-200
Photo: Markus Mainka | Shutterstock

Aircraft delivery will also play a part in the recovery effort, with China Eastern and China Southern reporting they will resume the Boeing 737 MAX deliveries. After the MAX variants were grounded following two fatal crashes in 2019 last week, the Chinese government re-issued approval for the carriers to accept deliveries of the type.

  • China Eastern Boeing 777 Getty
    Photo: Getty Images
    China Eastern Airlines
    IATA/ICAO Code:
    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier
    Year Founded:
    Shaoyong Liu
  • Qantas-Emirates-A380-Sydney-Stunt-Getty
    The two A380s at Sydney Airport waiting to take off. Photo: Qantas
    Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport
    IATA/ICAO Code:
    Geoff Culbert
    Passenger Count :
    44,446,838 (2019)
    Runways :
    07/25 - 2,530m (8,300ft) |16L/34R - 2,438m (8,000ft) |16R/34L - 3,962m (13,000ft)
    Terminal 1 |Terminal 2 |Terminal 3
  • C919
    Photo: Getty Images
    Shanghai Pudong International Airport
    IATA/ICAO Code:
    Shu Jun Shen
    Passenger Count :
    30,476,531 (2020)
    Runways :
    17L/35R - 4,000m (13,123ft) |16R/34L - 3,800m (12,467ft) |17R/35L - 3,400m (11,155ft) |16L/34R - 3,800m (12,467ft) |15/33 - 3,400m (11,155ft)
    Terminal 1 |Terminal 2