China Eastern is upgrading the aircraft flying on both its Shanghai-Melbourne and Shanghai-Sydney routes.
What’s happening on the Shanghai – Melbourne route?
China Eastern flies into Melbourne twice a day. It currently uses a mix of A330-200s and 787-9s. Effective January 14, 2020, all Melbourne flights will be operated by the Boeing 787-9.
China Eastern’s Boeing 787-9s are configured to seat 293 passengers, including 229 passengers in a 3-3-3 economy cabin, 34 passengers in a 3-3-3 premium economy cabin, and 30 passengers in a 2-2-2 business class cabin.
Things are slightly more complex out of Sydney
One of Sydney’s two daily China Eastern flights will be getting the China Eastern A350-900 fulltime. But is is less straightforward than the Melbourne arrangements.
From October 27, 2019, MU561 (the 20:20 departure from Shanghai) will be upgraded from the A330-200 to the A350-900. That means the return service to Shanghai, MU562 (the12:00 departure from Sydney) will be operated by the A350-900 from October 28, 2019.
But between January 13, 2020, and February 29,2020, MU561/562 will be operated by a Boeing 777-300ER. From March 1, 2020 out of Shanghai and March 2, 2020, out of Sydney, the flights will revert back to the A350-900.
China Eastern’s other daily flight in and out of Sydney is MU735 and MU736. From October 27, 2019 out of Shanghai and October 28, 2019 out of Sydney, the current A330-2000 that operates this route will be swapped out for a 787-9.
But between January 14, 2020 and February 29, 2020, the 787-9 will be swapped out for the A350-900 before reverting back to the 787-9 permanently. Those dates apply for Shanghai departures. As they are overnight flights, push those dates back one day for Sydney departures.
Got all that?
The take out.
This reshuffling of aircraft see the end of the China Eastern A330-200s flying into Sydney and Melbourne.
Melbourne is getting a consistent aircraft type – the 787-9.
Sydney is getting a daily A350-900 and a daily 787-9 from China Eastern.
It’s a win on the basis that both aircraft are newer, quieter, and arguably more comfortable than the aging A330-200s.