Sydney Airport has welcomed the first flight by Hainan Airlines. Hainan Airlines flies an A330 on its three frequencies a week service between Sydney, Shenzhen and Hangzhou.

The CEO of Sydney Airport, Russell Balding, congratulated Hainan Airlines and said that its decision to fly to Sydney Airport demonstrated again Sydney’s attractiveness as a destination for business and leisure travellers.

"Hainan Airlines is a fast growing airline with an extensive domestic network across China. The commencement of services by Hainan Airlines is great news for Sydney and demonstrates again the significant economic contribution that the airport makes to Sydney.

"The arrival of Hainan Airlines means that Sydney Airport now has five Chinese airlines flying from Sydney. This route development reflects the fundamental strengths of the Sydney market.  NSW is home to about 55% of the population of Chinese born people who live in Australia.

"The growth in the Chinese market in recent years has been very strong and is of increasing importance to Sydney’s tourism industry.  The number of Chinese arrivals into Sydney has increased from 147,148 in 2004 to 282,641 in 2010. This is exceptional growth that shows a near doubling of passenger numbers in just a few years.

"The 2010 figures on flights to China including both Australians outbound and Chinese inbound show exceptional growth at 26.2% over the numbers for 2009.”

"Sydney Airport is a very attractive location for airlines given that it is located only eight kilometres from the CBD and therefore close to global icons such as the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.

"It is also a clear statement of support for the major upgrade of the International Terminal that was completed last year.

"Sydney Airport is Australia’s busiest airport offering the most comprehensive network of international, domestic and regional routes and destinations which is of significant appeal to the marketplace.  Expanding Sydney’s access to the global aviation network strengthens Sydney as a global city and enhances our attractiveness as an international tourist destination,” Mr Balding said.

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