China Southern Airlines, the largest airline in Asia*, has selected two Margaret River wines as premium on-board beverages for all its return direct flights between China and Australia/New Zealand, including the Perth-Guangzhou direct path.
Fermoy Estate Classic White and Vasse Felix Sauvignon Blanc Semillon will be poured on-board China Southern Airlines flights from April 2016 and are the first two Western Australian wines to ever be featured in the carrier’s inflight offering.
“This new business development facilitated by Wines of Western Australia and the Margaret River Wine Association on behalf of China Southern Airlines and WA wine producers reiterates the significant opportunities China presents as a key export market for Western Australian wines,” said CEO of Wines of Western Australia, Larry Jorgensen.
“The premium experience aboard China Southern provides an ideal environment to introduce Chinese palates to the quality of wines in Western Australia and it is a momentous step forward in building the profile of our wine in China,” Larry continued.
“The Margaret River Wine Association has been exploring a range of business development opportunities for producers to break into and grow their distribution in China. This strategic alliance with China Southern Airlines is an outstanding progression in building the profile of brand Margaret River wine in China,” said CEO of the Margaret River Wine Industry Association, Nick Power.
Fermoy Estate General Manager Cameron Rhodes said the new opportunity for Western Australian wine producers to supply wine to China Southern Airlines was invaluable.
“The opportunity to have our wines served on all China Southern’s direct Australian and New Zealand routes is a huge honour. The Chinese market represents an enormous opportunity for all Australian wine producers and the fact that Chinese travellers will be able to enjoy our wine whilst flying on China Southern will help promote Australian wines and Australian quality produce even further,” Cameron said.
Vasse Felix Marketing and Business Development Manager Lloyd Constantine agreed the in-flight environment is ideal to increase the profile of Western Australian wines.
“Premium in-flight wine service is a great business and promotional opportunity for wine. Aboard China Southern Airlines you have an environment of captive new consumers who have already expressed an interest in Australia from a travel perspective and are eager to learn more about the exceptional natural produce of its regions, like the wine paradise that is Margaret River.”
China Southern Airlines is the first Chinese Airline to introduce direct flights from Perth to Guangzhou and their General Manager, Alex Zhao said the selection of Western Australian wine was an important element of its long-term commitment to Australasian routes.
“The decision to serve quality Western Australian wines on all our Australian and New Zealand routes is a strategic decision to allow our passengers to have a taste of Australia as they fly with us. Having these world-class wines on-board is a perfect addition to the highest level of quality and standards provided by China Southern to all of its passengers,” Mr Zhao said.
China Southern Airlines has been operating four flights a week between Perth and Guangzhou since July 2015 and the increase in Chinese visitors has been visible at both Fermoy Estate and Vasse Felix.
“We have already noticed an increase in Chinese customers visiting our winery and the Margaret River wine region generally. We believe that having Margaret River wines served on China Southern will only help further increase the level of interest for visiting Western Australia among Chinese travellers,” General Manager Cameron Rhodes added.
The wines will be poured on all direct China Southern Airlines flights between China and Australia/New Zealand for the next 2 years.
The State Government has also welcomed this announcement. Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia Director General Rob Delane said this was an exciting opportunity for Western Australian fine wines, and congratulated China Southern Airlines on this initiative.
* Based on Annual Passenger Traffic and Fleet Size