China will ease its near decade-old "one route, one airline" policy, the country's aviation regulator said, opening the door to greater levels of competition on long-haul routes between the nation's state-backed and private carriers.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China, in a statement on its website, said the move was in recognition of the changing nature of China's aviation market, and also to prepare for the opening of Beijing's second international airport scheduled for 2019.
Chinese visitors spent more than $10 billion in Australia in the 12 months to the end of September, with the number of visitors from the Middle Kingdom growing by more than 12 per cent.
Data released today by Tourism Research Australia underlined China’s status as the key market for Australian tourism, with more than 1.2 million Chinese touching down in Australia over the period.
Spending by Chinese visitors reached $10.29 billion, nearly three times the $3.75 billion spent by visitors from the second-ranked market, the United States.