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China-Australia FTA to create one of biggest airline partnerships

Staff writer |
Qantas chief executive officer Alan Joyce said its partnership with China Eastern would become its largest global partnership, once the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement is enacted.

Speaking on Xinhua's Talk to China Program, Qantas chief executive office Alan Joyce has said with the rapid growth of China's middle class, the groups recently approved partnership with China Eastern and opportunities afforded in the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will allow the airline to expand into the Chinese market.

"We can benefit out of tourism, out of economic activity,"Joyce said.

In August, The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission ( ACCC) approved the partnership between China Eastern and Qantas, which both airlines are set to capitalize on.

Joyce said both airlines will work together to develop and increase capacity in the Australia-Shanghai market, starting with Brisbane, and hoping to grow by 21 percent as a result of benefits of the China-Australia FTA.

"Both brands will use their domestic networks to enhance the operation to Shanghai,"Joyce said.

"Qantas and China Eastern will use their brands and their distribution to enhance the services from Shanghai, but, Qantas will be selling the rest of China and the rest of Australia on that network to allow people more easy access."

Easy access into Australia is what's needed with the potential boost in Chinese tourists into Australia, second in numbers behind New Zealand, but most on expenditure, Joyce predicts.

"In China, they say France is the number one destination the Chinese want to travel to and Australia is number two. That's huge potential in terms of tourism," Joyce said.

"We have over 750,000 Chinese tourists coming here,"and the number is growing at 11 percent year on year, according to the Qantas chief executive.

With 5 billion Australian dollars in expenditure, Joyce predicts that will double to 9 to 10 billion Australian dollars by the year 2020.

"That's why we're very keen on the Free Trade Agreement," he said.

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