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Australia, China agree to open aviation market

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-12-05 10:22

CANBERRA - Australian and Chinese governments have settled arrangement to open aviation market between the two countries, Australian Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester and Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo said in a statement on Sunday.

The statement said the new arrangements will remove all capacity restrictions between Australia and China for each country's airlines, allowing Australian tourism businesses to take advantage of the largest and fastest growing consumer market in the world.

"We have also liberalised traffic rights and code share arrangements, which are important for Australian airlines. This will enable Australian and Chinese airlines to service destinations between and beyond both countries, and will allow them to take full advantage of their cooperative arrangements with their commercial alliance partners," said Chester.

The two countries have seen a boom of direct flights in recent months. Air China, China's national flag carrier, started its Chengdu-Sydney line in November this year, while China Southern Airline is expected to begin its Guangzhou-Adelaide service in December. Australia's flag carrier Qantas also announced to relaunch its daily service from Sydney to Beijing in January.

Ciobo said there is unlimited potential for Australian tourism following this historic agreement.

"China is Australia's fastest growing and highest spending international visitor market. More than 1 million Chinese tourists visited Australia in 2015-16 (up 22.3 percent from the previous year), and spent almost A$9 billion ($6.7 billion) during their stay," he said.

The outbound China market is predicated to double to over 200 million travellers annually by 2020. "This agreement will help Australia snare a larger slice of that, creating more Australian jobs and economic growth," said Ciobo.

Ciobo said China is Australia's most valuable tourism export market. The year 2017 has been named Australia-China Year of Tourism.

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