Aviation industry boosts Brisbane's business credentials

New direct flights from China have boosted Brisbane’s credentials as a leading business events destination within the Asia-Pacific region, and come as the city gears up to host a leading aviation conference.

Direct flights between Brisbane and Shanghai began in December 2016, with China Eastern Airlines offering four weekly flights between the two cities.

Brisbane Airport

The service has become so popular that China Eastern Airlines will now offer the service daily, with the additional flights bringing more than 120,000 new visitors to Brisbane over the next four years.

The increase in flights between Brisbane and Shanghai comes as the first Hainan Airlines flight from Shenzhen touched down in Brisbane on 21 September - marking the beginning of twice-weekly direct flights between Brisbane and Shenzhen; and the announcement of the first Air China direct flights from Beijing to Brisbane, flying four times a week.

According to Brisbane Conventions Bureau Acting General Manager Juliet Alabaster, increased air capacity meant Brisbane was in the enviable position of being well placed to attract more big-name business events like Routes Asia 2018, which will be held in Brisbane next March.

More than 1000 airline, airport and tourism delegates from 100 countries are set to descend on Brisbane for the event, which will run for three days from March 18-20, 2018 at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre. It will bring together some of the largest airlines from the Asian region, as well as airport representatives and tourism authorities.

“This major aviation event demonstrates a growing confidence in Brisbane as a destination of choice for the world’s aviation industry, as well as a prime location for major business events,” Ms Alabaster said.

“We already know Brisbane is the perfect destination for events of this calibre, and now the rest of the world is catching on.

“Not only do we believe we have the best convention centre in the world; we also have world-class hotels, a thriving business events industry, experts from a range of industries that can add value to any event, as well as some exciting city infrastructure projects in the pipeline.

“Coupled with increased air capacity into Brisbane, it means we are well placed to welcome more business delegates to the city.”

Routes Asia 2018 will be the second major aviation conference for Brisbane in two years, with the city hosting the CAPA Australia Pacific Aviation Summit, the largest Australia Pacific aviation conference of its kind, in August 2016.

The new flights into Brisbane from China correspond with a recent surge in direct flights between Brisbane and other major cities around the world. In late 2015, Qantas launched direct flights between Brisbane and Tokyo, capitalising on increased interest in travel between Australia and Japan. Air Canada began direct daily flights between Vancouver and Brisbane in 2016.

Corresponding visitor data suggests the new flights have been a success. Brisbane experienced an increase in visitors from Japan last year of 9 per cent, and holiday visitors were up 22.9 per cent over the previous year. Canadian holiday visitors to Brisbane increased 42.1 per cent from last year, with all visitors from Canada increasing 27.1 per cent.

The number of direct flights for Brisbane will continue to grow into the future following the announcement that Qantas will base half of its new ultra-long-range Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner fleet in Brisbane. Several major North American cities will now be a direct flight away from Brisbane, providing new opportunities for incentives and associations business.