Carriers in the Asia-Pacific are adding capacity, with an emphasis on leisure destinations as the holiday season approaches.

China Eastern Airlines commenced services on the Jinan-Sydney route on 27 November, its first intercontinental flight from the Chinese city. It will operate the service three times weekly with Airbus A330s.

CEA Jinan Sydney

Source: China Eastern Airlines

China Eastern crew in Sydney. The Australian city is the carrier’s first intercontintental destination from Jinan

This followed China Eastern’s 22 November launch of a Wenzhou-Madrid service, which will operate twice weekly, operated with A350-900s. Madrid is the second European destination China Eastern serves from Wenzhou after London Heathrow.

Another Chinese carrier, Hainan Airlines, announced that will resume services on the Hangzhou-Sapporo route from 25 December with Boeing 737s. The carrier will operate the route twice weekly.

Malaysia’s granting of 30-day visa-free travel for passengers from China and India prompted low-cost carrier AirAsia to pledge that it will add capacity to both countries.

“This is a huge, much anticipated news not only for AirAsia but for the country…AirAsia has been at the forefront of trying to make visiting Malaysia easier,” says Tony Fernandes, chief executive of AirAsia parent Capital A.

From the first quarter of 2024 AirAsia will operate 230 weekly flights between Malaysia and the two countries, offering up to 5.2 million seats annually. The carrier operates to 17 destinations in China and six in India. It will add a new Indian destination, Trivandrum, in February 2024.

Another Malaysian carrier, Batik Air, announced that it will commence services on the Kuala Lumpur-Melbourne route from 20 December. The service will be operated four times weekly with A330s. The carrier will operate the route on seasonal basis until early February.

China Eastern Madrid

Source: China Eastern Airlines

China Eastern crew on the tarmac in Madrid

Two international carriers, Qatar Airways and Thai Airways, have also resumed services to Malaysia’s second largest city, Penang. Qatar will operate a Doha-Phuket-Penang service on a daily basis, while Thai will operate a direct service from Bangkok.

India’s Vistara, meanwhile, added its 50th destination, Doha. The full-service carrier will operate the service four times weekly from 15 December using A321neos.

“We are thrilled to introduce direct flights between Mumbai and Doha - the capital of Qatar and a burgeoning financial hub in the Middle East,” says Vistara chief executive Vinod Kannan.

“Given the city’s growing economic significance, this move not only further solidifies our presence in the Gulf region but also enhances our network offering from our Mumbai hub. We hope that our customers will appreciate having the option of flying with India’s best airline on this route.”

Singapore low-cost carrier Jetstar Asia added to its North Asia services, with the launch of an Osaka service on 24 November and a direct Okinawa service on 30 November. The airline had operated to both destinations before the coronavirus pandemic and is the only schedule carrier on the Singapore-Okinawa route.

Fiji New Caledonia

Source: Fiji Airways

Fiji Airways believes its codeshare network will help it carry passengers to New Caledonia

Both routes are operated with A320s, with Osaka served five times weekly and Okinawa three times weekly.

Fiji Airways has also launched a service on the Nadi-Noumea route.

“New Caledonia being a French territory, there is a lot of traffic between France and Noumea,” says Fiji Airways chief executive Andrew Viljoen.

“We are in a unique position to provide seamless travel options via our flights to North America and Asia codeshare thereon.”