LONG awaited direct flights between mainland China and Cairns will start in December.
China Southern Airlines will operate the flights three times a week over three years in a deal struck betwen the Queensland Government and Cairns Airport.
The flights will provide 33,000 seats a year and inject $30 million into the region’s economy.
In the past China Southern has operated seasonal and charter services to Cairns, mainly for the Chinese New Year.
The flights are considered crucial to draw more Chinese visitors who sometimes take 30 hours to reach Cairns via southern ports.
The non-stop services will significantly boost current annual numbers of about 218,000 Chinese visitors.
Cairns attracts half of the number of Chinese travellers to Queensland every year.
By Nick Dalton
The Cairns Post