Asiana Airlines and China Eastern will trial two new, seasonal routes to Australia over the summer.
Star Alliance’s Asiana Airlines will trial a weekly Melbourne-Seoul service from December 2019 until February 2020. Meanwhile, China Eastern is testing the waters on a Perth-Shanghai route, with a five-week trial beginning in January.
Asiana to fly from Melbourne to Seoul
Asiana will fly once per week from Melbourne to Incheon International Airport in Seoul from 26 December 2019 until 21 February 2020. The Boeing 777 flights will depart Seoul on Thursday evenings, and Melbourne on Friday mornings over this period. The flight time in both directions is 10 hours and 30 minutes – a saving of at least 3 hours over transiting via Sydney, Gold Coast, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or Manila. Here is the schedule:
- OZ6047 Melbourne 08:00 – Seoul 16:30
- OZ6037 Seoul 18:00 – Melbourne 06:30 (next day)
There are currently no direct flights from Melbourne to Seoul, making it a large unserved market. The Australia-Korea Business Council has welcomed the direct service and is encouraging Melbourne residents to consider using it if travelling to South Korea over summer.
“Following the outcome of the trial, Asiana will consider whether there is an opportunity to create a permanent direct route to Melbourne, with the potential to add more flights to the route,” the Australia-Korea Business Council said.
“This therefore represents an opportunity to increase the number of direct flights between Australia and Korea to meet growing demand from the Australian and Korean business communities. More direct flights would enable both business and leisure travellers to access Australia with greater ease.”
Qantas codeshares on Asiana’s daily Sydney-Seoul service, but Qantas codeshares are not currently available on the Melbourne route which is effectively running as a charter service during the trial.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Asiana to launch MEL-ICN Seasonal Charters
China Eastern to fly from Perth to Shanghai
China Eastern will trial 3x weekly flights between Perth and Shanghai over Chinese New Year. The Airbus A330-200 flights will run from 15 January until 17 February 2020 and operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in both directions.
As you’d expect, the WA government hopes that the trial will lead to permanent services. The flights will carry Western Australia exports such as lobster, as well as passengers.
Qantas award seats are available on the direct China Eastern flights from Perth to Shanghai. An Economy ticket costs 60,400 Qantas Frequent Flyer points round-trip, and a return Business seat costs 150,000 Qantas points. The taxes on a return booking add to $296.61 in both cabin classes.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: MU Launching Seasonal PVG-PER
Upgrades for China Eastern’s Sydney, Melbourne flights
Meanwhile, China Eastern is currently in the process of upgrading its Melbourne-Shanghai and Sydney-Shanghai routes with newer aircraft.
Both daily Melbourne-Shanghai services will be operated by Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners from 14 January 2020.
On the Sydney-Shanghai route, China Eastern now operates a mix of Boeing 787-9s and new Airbus A350s. The only exception will be over the busy Chinese New Year period, when a Boeing 777-300ER will operate one of the two daily flights.