Qantas launched its new flights to Beijing on January 25th - and the airline emphasised the fact that the route holds the potential to nurture the existing Australia-China travel boom.
It also marks the next step in the national carrier's growth strategy for China, with Beijing representing the third Qantas destination in Greater China after Shanghai and Hong Kong.
The 21 million residents of the Chinese capital now have a direct gateway to Australia. This could be a major opportunity for the Australian tourism industry, as well as Australian companies looking to do business in China under the Free Trade Agreement.
All inbound flights on the new route are timed to connect with the domestic network operated by Qantas, which incorporates popular onward destinations such as Melbourne, Brisbane and Hobart.
The airline's Tasman services to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown can also be linked with Beijing.
Alan Joyce, chief executive officer of Qantas, said the 12-hour route marks the dawn of a new era for his company's long history of serving China.
"It's the perfect time for Qantas to fly to Beijing. The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement is hitting its stride and China is on track to become the number one source of visitors to Australia within the next year or so," he commented.
Mr Joyce added that the future potential of this route is even more exciting, as it means the Qantas network in Greater China is the biggest it has ever been. He said the goal is now to transform the Beijing route into a flagship corridor for tourism and trade.
"For Chinese travellers, our message is that there's no better way of getting to know Australia than with the national carrier," Mr Joyce remarked.