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Dr Chrystal Zhang

Senior Lecturer, Research Director


With a PhD in Air Transport Management from Cranfield University, Chrystal has developed her expertise throughout her 27 years of industry experience working in both public and private sectors including governments, world-renowned aviation consultancy firms, and high education institutions worldwide. She has expertise in Airline Business Models (Full Service Carriers and Low Cost Carriers), Open Skies and Airline Liberalisation, Airport Positioning and Marketing and Hubbing Strategies, Pilot Licensing, Air Travellers Behaviour and Impact on safety and Wellbeing, Cabin Safety, Flight Training, with specific hands-on competence in Airline Licencing, Foreign Investment in Airline/Airport Industry, and Route Development. Before joining Swinburne in 2011, she was Director of Greater China of the Route Development Group Ltd (including both Routes and ASM, currently part of UBM/OAG), looking after the group’s business strategy and operation in Chinese market. She led the multicultural team to provide strategic advice to high-calibre clients of aviation and tourism industry and local governments. Prior to that, she was Business Development Manager and Consultant of Mango Aviation Partners, a boutique firm specializing in advising low cost start-ups. Before that, she worked for Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) specializing in bilateral air service agreement negotiation and implementation, route licencing and airline alliances. She has tens of publications in high-impact refereed journals and has spoken widely at seminars and conferences. She appears often in Australia and Chinese media commenting on airline/airport strategic issues. She has been active in Aviation/Aerospace Australia (A/AA) since 2011 and is now an Executive Committee member of Women in Aviation/Aerospace Australia (WA/AA). She is a Board member of Agri-nomics Australia Pty.

Research interests

Airline Operations; Aviation Human Factors; Aviation Policy; Aviation Safety; Aviation Strategy; Education

PhD candidate and honours supervision

Higher degrees by research

Accredited to supervise Masters & Doctoral students as Principal Coordinating Supervisor.

PhD topics and outlines

A route development framework for tourism dependent small islands develpoing states: This study is proposed to investigate the existing route development practices specific to the peculiarities of small islands developing states (SIDs), with an aim of designing a route development framework which will enable SIDs to sustainably enhance their accessibility based on the objectives of the route development and encourage the adoption of best practices.    

Evolution of low cost carrier business models: This study is proposed to look in particular into the evolution of LCCs business models in emerging markets in Asia and Africa and investigate how LCCs adapt to their local operational enviroment to compete against full service carriers and further examine how the altered LCC business models have affected air travellers' behaviour.  

Invetigating airport performance under the regiem of Private Public Partnership : Shareholders structure of business has a significant impact on its strategic decisions and market performance. It is particular true for airports, quite some of which have been privatised. This study is proposed to investigate how the shareholder structures have an impact on airport performance , especially under the regime of public private partnership arrangement.


Available to supervise honours students.

Fields of Research

  • Air Transportation And Freight Services - 150701
  • Tourist Behaviour And Visitor Experience - 150606
  • International Law (excl. International Trade Law) - 180116

Teaching areas

Airline Operations;Aviation Policy;Aviation Strategy


  • 2014, Swinburne, Vice Chancellor's Engagement Award, highly commended , Swinburne University of Technology


Also published as: Zhang, Chrystal; Zhang, Bixiu; Zhang, B.; Zhang, C. B.; Zhang, Chrystal B.
This publication listing is provided by Swinburne Research Bank. If you are the owner of this profile, contact us to update.

Recent research grants awarded

  • 2016: Baseline Australian heliports to evaluate levels of compliance with ICAO Annex 14 *; Civil Aviation Safety Authority

* Chief Investigator