China Eastern Airlines is to trial direct flights between Perth and Shanghai, early next year. The trial will involve three flights each week, for five weeks beginning 15 January 2020 (including the Chinese New Year period). The China Eastern trial was negotiated by a partnership of the State Government, through Tourism WA, Perth Airport, the Geraldton Fishermen’s Cooperative, and Tourism Australia.
As well as bringing more Chinese visitors to Western Australia, each return flight to Shanghai is expected to carry up to 15 tonnes of western rock lobster. Shanghai is already a major destination for western rock lobster (see chart), however, the China Eastern trial will represent the only regular, public air transport service operating non-stop between Perth and Shanghai.
Chart: exports of Western Australian rock lobster, categorised by port of discharge
Sources: Australian Bureau of Statistics; WRL analysis