Hainan Airlines has returned to Sydney for the first time since 2012 with the inaugural direct seasonal service from Xi’an touching down at Sydney Airport on Thursday morning.

Hainan launched flights to Sydney in January 2011, when it served Sydney on a Hangzhou-Shenzhen-Sydney routing. However, it pulled off the route a year later. Its new twice-weekly flights from Xi’an will operate until the end of March 2016 with 222-seat Airbus A330-200s.

Hainan is now Sydney Airport’s sixth Chinese airline, joining Air China, China Eastern, China Southern, Sichuan Airlines and Xiamen Airlines.

“Sydney Airport’s pleased to welcome Hainan Airlines’ twice weekly service from Xi’an to Sydney, marking our sixth new airline in 2015 and making us the world’s leading airport for Chinese long haul carriers,” Sydney Airport managing director and chief executive officer Kerrie Mather said.

“Hainan Airlines’ arrival is great news for tourism in Sydney and NSW, with an expected $26.5 million in additional annual visitor expenditure.

“Securing another new Chinese airline for Sydney Airport is testament to our continued work with government and industry partners to provide a positive visitor experience and attract more Chinese visitors to Sydney, our fastest growing inbound visitor market.”

Hainan’s Sydney flights depart Xi’an at 1710 local time on Wednesdays and Sundays, arriving in Sydney the following morning. The return flight takes off from Sydney at 1015, touching down in Xi’an in the early evening.

– Australian Aviation