Sichuan Airlines A332 gets water cannoned at SYD: James Morgan photo

China hands say that Sichuan is its wild west, uncrowded in its wilderness spectacles, yet crowded with economic strength and potential in its major cities of Chengdu and Chongqing.

Which is why some fairly rapturous things were said about it today when Sichuan Airlines’  A330-200 touched down in Sydney to inaugurate that airport’s direct links to each city, although there was no mention that Melbourne beat it by seven months with the same carrier launching Chengdu flights last February.

This is part of the media release from Sydney Airport:

“China is a huge growth market for Sydney Airport and we’re very pleased that passengers will now be able to access western China directly from Sydney,” Sydney Airport CEO Ms Kerrie Mather said.

“This new service will provide more than 50,000 seats per year on the Chengdu-Chongqing-Sydney route.

“Chengdu is an economic, transport and communication hub, with around 14 million residents.

“Chongqing is an important industrial centre for manufacturing and transport, with a population of around 30 million people.

“A direct air link between Chengdu, Chongqing and Sydney will boost both tourism and business to Sydney, New South Wales and Australia.

“Sydney Airport is truly Australia’s gateway to China, with 94 weekly flights to all the major Chinese cities and greater China, increasing to 99 flights per week in the peak season from January to February, in time for Chinese New Year.

“We’ve ensured we’re ready to meet growing demand from our Chinese customers, with Chinese language wayfinding signage, apps and website, Chinese-speaking Red Ambassadors and tailored retail offerings at the airport.”

The service holds promise for China visitors, since Sichuan is indeed an awesome travel experience on many levels, although its winters, like the one now holding the land in an iron grip, are brutal.

Let’s hope Sichuan does better than China Southern in judging the supply and demand situation between Australia and China.

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