Alan-Joyce-Beijing

Qantas is kicking off the Chinese New Year by reinstating daily flights from Sydney to Beijing. Image via Qantas

APEX Insight: Competition has been heating up amongst airlines to attract Chinese travelers looking to take a break from the smog, and those flying home to visit family, as they welcome the Year of the Fire Rooster.

Over six million passengers are expected to fly on outbound trips from China during this year’s Lunar New Year holiday, according to a report by Ctrip, China’s largest online travel agency. Competition has been heating up amongst airlines to attract travelers looking to welcome the Year of the Fire Rooster with a getaway – and a break from the smog.

Cathay Pacific’s “Year of the Rooster” special offer gave passengers 22 percent off flights to select cities in Asia and the South Pacific, including Auckland and six destinations in Australia, listed by Ctrip as one of the top 10 overseas destinations for Chinese New Year tourists. While many living in China will be traveling abroad during the holiday, expats will be flying home to visit family – a large portion of them millennials. China Southern Airlines is targeting this demographic with its Rooster Round-Trip selfie contest.

Qantas is kicking off the Chinese New Year by reinstating daily flights from Sydney to Beijing due to an increase in demand. “We are seeing a Chinese tourism boom, and we know that this route will bring a lot of new tourists into this country,” said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.

On January 28, Qatar Airways will be serving a special Spring Festival-inspired menu on flights to popular destinations in Asia. Economy passengers will receive roasted chicken with sesame hoisin sauce and jasmine rice, followed by Chinese tea cheesecake or Mandarin orange and vanilla torte, while first- and business- class passengers will be able to choose from items such as grilled prawn with stir-fried noodles and Jiangxi-style sauce and tofu cheesecake. Meanwhile, Cathay Pacific’s first- and business-class passengers will be served two types of festive puddings: red date pudding and turnip pudding with Chinese ham. EVA Air will also offer a Chinese New Year-themed menu, and will be updating its paper napkins, headrest covers and red envelopes on Hello Kitty Jets to include two new characters: Gudetama and Bad Badtz-maru.

While 2017 is almost one month old according to the Gregorian calendar, Lunar New Year celebrations are preparing to take off in North America – especially on the west coast, home to many trans-pacific hubs. Southwest Airlines is behind San Francisco’s Chinese New Year Festival and Parade, and Air China has partnered with Citadel Outlets in Los Angeles for an event at the shopping center, featuring live entertainment and a customary red envelope giveaway. Due north, Vancouver International Airport is making sure that the Chinese New Year gets off to a roaring start by greeting travelers with Year of the Rooster festivities, including a traditional lion dance, starting today.