Regent Hotels begins double miles deal with China Eastern and Air China

Regent Taipei's renovated lobby

Regent Hotels and Resorts will be running a two-month-long double mileage campaign for members of Air China’s and China Eastern Airlines’ frequent flyer programmes when they stay at one of three hotels in mainland China and Taiwan.

The new offer will begin on April 1 and will run until May 31. During that time, members of Phoenix Miles (Air China) and Eastern Miles (China Eastern Airlines) will be able to accrue double the miles when they stay for one or more consecutive nights at Regent Beijing, Regent Chongqing or Regent Taipei at an eligible room rate.

According to Regent Hotels, this will increase the miles an eligible stay would typically accrue from 800 to 1,600 kilometres.

The three properties are each situated in key financial and commercial districts in their respective city. The Regent Beijing it located in Wangfujing, walking distance from the Forbidden City; Regent Chongqing (which opened in December last year) is in Jiangbeizui and offers views of the Jialing River and Yuzhong Peninsular; while Regent Taipei is in Zhongshan and includes the Regent Galleria shopping destination.

regenthotels.com; airchina.com; en.ceair.com

China Eastern connects Sydney with Wuhan

Aerial view of Sydney, Australia

The past two months have seen a slew of routes cropping up connecting destinations in China and Australasia. From Qantas starting a new Sydney-Beijing route and Tianjin Airlines applying for new Chongqing-Melbourne flights last week, to Hainan Airlines beginning flying between Shenzhen and Auckland, and China Eastern starting Shanghai-Brisbane flights last December, routes between the two regions are rapidly on the rise.

Now, China Eastern is adding to this growing list of China-Australasia services with the launch of new overnight direct flights connecting Wuhan and Sydney. Operating three times weekly with a 232-seat Airbus A330-200, the route is anticipated to bring some additional 21,500 Chinese visitors to Sydney every year.

“We’re delighted to welcome the Wuhan-Sydney service, particularly as we celebrate Lunar New Year,” said Sydney Airport’s managing director and CEO, Kerrie Mather. “This new route provides direct access to the most populous city in Central China and a major business and transportation hub.” 

Sydney Airport currently services 14 cities in mainland China, and Chinese travellers make up the airport’s largest group of foreign in-bound passengers.

Speaking about the new route, China Eastern Airlines’ general manager – Oceania, Kathy Zhang, said: “With our new Wuhan services, China Eastern Airlines is pleased to now offer 26 weekly flights between China and Sydney. Together with our partner Qantas we currently offer 40 direct weekly services to six mainland Chinese cities from Sydney, providing more convenience than ever.”

Details for the new service are as follows (all times local):

Flight No.FromToDepartsArrivesDays
MU749WuhanSydney23401330+1Mon, Wed, Fri
MU750SydneyWuhan22150545+1

en.ceair.com

China Eastern now flying Nanjing-Vancouver

Aerial sunset over Vancouver - Credit: Tourism Vancouver/ Frannz Morzo Photography

China Eastern is now flying direct between Nanjing and Vancouver, offering a three-times-weekly service between Nanjing Lukou International Airport (NKG) and Vancouver International Airport (YVR).

The Chengdu service is China Eastern’s latest direct route to the Canadian city – its first, a daily service from Shanghai, began in 2004. As with its Shanghai flights, the new Nanjing-Vancouver service will carry on to Kunming.

Speaking about the new route, which launched on December 20, YVR president and CEO Craig Richmond said: “We want to thank our long-standing partner, China Eastern, for choosing YVR to introduce this new connection between Vancouver and Nanjing, a renowned Chinese historical epicentre and a key economic hub. This is another exciting first for YVR—offering passengers the only non-stop access to Nanjing in all of Canada.”

China Eastern’s new service is being operated by an Airbus A330-200, flying on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. MU215 departs Nanjing at 1400 and arrives in Vancouver that morning at 0830, while the return MU216 flight departs Vancouver at 1030 and arrives the following early afternoon at 1455.

Details of the new service are as follows (all times local):

Flight No.FromToDepartsArrivesDays
MU215NKGYVR14000830Tue, Thu, Sun
MU216YVRNKG10301455+1

In addition to tourism, the new route is expected to boost business and trade opportunities between British Columbia and Jiangsu province. “As we expand our trade network into China’s mid-sized cities, direct transportation connections like this one will play a major role in driving two-way trade and partnerships,” said Teresa Wat, British Columbia’s Minister of International Trade and Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism. “It will also help us build on the MOU [memorandum of understanding] between British Columbia and the Jiangsu Provincial government aimed at strengthening trade ties and growing the technology sector in both provinces.”

China Eastern has been expanding its international network the past few months. Along with the new Vancouver route, the Chinese carrier also launched services between Brisbane and Shanghai last month. Meanwhile in November 2016, China Eastern also began flying Kunming-Sydney and in September Kunming-San Francisco via Qingdao.

en.ceair.com

China Eastern now flying Shanghai to Brisbane

A new China Eastern service between Shanghai and Brisbane began earlier this week, giving business travellers a new four-times-weekly flight option between the Chinese financial hub and the Queensland capital.

The Chinese carrier has deployed its Airbus A330-200 on the route, which entails an overnight flight from Shanghai Pudong Airport for a 1005 arrival in Brisbane (BNE). The return leg departs the Queensland capital around lunchtime and arrives back in Shanghai at 2000 local time.

Operating on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, the new route is expected to bring some 18,000 additional visitors per year from China to Queensland.

“The Chinese visitor market is currently the second largest for Brisbane airport, experiencing 19 per cent growth in the last financial year,” said Julieanna Alroe, Brisbane Airport Corporation CEO and managing director. “These direct China Eastern flights will help grow this important market which will have flow on benefits for every sector of our economy, from business and investment to tourism, trade and education.”

Alroe added that the service would allow travellers to connect to Brisbane Airport’s domestic network spanning 48 destinations across the country.

“When BNE’s New Parallel Runway becomes operational in just four short years it will deliver Brisbane Airport the most efficient runway system in Australia with similar capacity to Hong Kong and Singapore airports, providing even more opportunity to expand our network connections.”

Earlier this month, Australian carrier Qantas announced it will introduce a new Premium Lounge Entry departure experience for passengers departing Brisbane Domestic Airport. The new service follows the opening of the airline’s new Brisbane International Lounge, which opened to passengers on October 20 this year.

Details for the new route are as follows (all times local):

en.ceair.com

China Eastern to add wifi to 35 new aircraft

China Eastern Airlines' 787-9 Dreamliner order from Boeing

China Eastern Airlines will be introducing Panasonic Avionics Corporation’s eX3 in-flight entertainment system and wifi connectivity to its new fleet of 35 Airbus A350s and Boeing B787 aircraft, bringing in-flight connectivity to its entire wide body fleet.

The carrier has previously offered Panasonic’s global wifi service on its domestic flights – the first Chinese airline to do so – and broadband communications on select international routes in November, 2015.

Speaking about the implementation, the airline’s CEO, Xulun Ma, said: “China Eastern Airlines understands the needs of our customers for a premium in-flight experience. Our partnership with Panasonic has proved extremely successful and we look forward to continue strengthening our relationship with Panasonic Avionics.”

According to the Panasonic, the company’s Global Communications Services is currently the only global broadband in-flight connectivity service operating in every country in the world and currently services 99.6 per cent of all air traffic routes.

“Panasonic remains the only global connectivity provider operating over China today, so we’re delighted to further strengthen our relationship with China Eastern Airlines through our third partnership agreement together,” said Paul Margis, CEO of Panasonic Avionics Corporation. “Panasonic continues to invest in developing reliable broadband wifi solutions that meet the increasing demand from passengers to be connected across the globe.”

The eX3Connect system uses Panasonic’s global Ku-band satellite network, which enables aircraft to deliver broadband connectivity over land and sea across the world.

en.ceair.com

Qantas revives its Sydney–Beijing route

Beijing

Qantas has resurrected its Sydney-Beijing route with plans to launch daily flights to Beijing Capital International Airport, beginning January 25, 2017. The service marks the first time the airline has flown the route since it scrapped it back in 2009 following a decline in leisure travel from Australia to China.

As travel between the two destinations has picked up, however, the airline is expanding its services. The revived route, which will be served by an Airbus A330-200 and will be timed to connect with the carrier’s domestic and trans-Tasman network, is Qantas’ third destination in Greater China. Qantas currently operates daily return services to Shanghai and 28 return services a week to Hong Kong, and the new Beijing route is expected to add a further 3,300 seats a week between Australia and China.

The new service also forms part of the expansion of Qantas’ joint venture partnership with China Eastern. The Chinese airline will codeshare on the Australian carrier’s new Beijing service, along with three other international codeshare routes, including Sydney-Hangzhou, Sydney-Kunming and Brisbane-Shanghai, that are planned to be added as part of the joint venture.

“The tourism industry in Australia is very excited about what the Chinese market will deliver over the next few years, especially given it’s already become our second-biggest source of visitors after New Zealand,” said Alan Joyce, Qantas group chief executive. “The business travel market is another key focus for this route, particularly off the back of the free trade agreement with China, which is increasing the amount of freight we’re carrying.”

Flight details are as follows:

FromToFlight NumberDepartArriveDays
SYDPEKQF10713502240Daily
PEKSYDQF10800151455Mon, Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat
PEKSYDQF10800201455Thu, Sun

qantas.com

British Airways launches codeshare with China Eastern

British Airways A320 aircraft

British Airways has launched a new codeshare agreement with China Eastern Airlines.

The agreement sees BA add its code to Shanghai-based China Eastern’s flights to Kunming, Xi’an, Nanjing, Hangzhou and Chongqing, while the Chinese carrier will add its code onto BA flights to Aberdeen, Belfast City, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds Bradford, Manchester and Newcastle.

Earlier this year BA confirmed it was in talks with China Eastern and China Southern regarding the possibility of codesharing on flights between Europe and China.

Travellers will be able to book single through-tickets on the BA via ba.com, and BA Executive Club members will earn Avios on the China Eastern sectors of the journey.

Announcing the new agreement BA’s CEO Alex Cruz said:

“We are delighted to be partnering with China Eastern Airlines and are very pleased that we can now offer our customers the opportunity to book with British Airways to fly to these great regional Chinese destinations.

“We believe the start of this code-share will help to generate more opportunities for companies based in these important cities as it will be simpler and easier to travel to do business in person.”

BA currently flies from the UK to Beijing, Chengdu, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

ba.com

Plaza Premium and China Eastern open world’s first co-branded lounge

Plaza Premium Group and China Eastern Airlines have opened the world’s first co-branded airport lounge in Terminal 2 of Shanghai Pudong International Airport.

Entrance of the No. 77 China Eastern Plaza Premium Lounge

Located near Gate 77 at Departures, the No. 77 China Eastern Plaza Premium Lounge is a pay-in facility, and is therefore open to all travellers regardless of airline or class of travel. A two-hour lounge visit costs RMB300 (US$47).

Main sitting area

At over 1,800sqm, the lounge offers a seating capacity of 500 and features an “East Meet West” philosophy that blends Plaza Premium’s sleek design ethos with China Eastern’s concept of offering “world-class hospitality with Eastern charm”.

Plaza Premium’s signature honeycomb seating

The lounge is equipped with an array of independent facilities, including a leisure area, buffet area, bar area, five Internet workstations, nursing room three shower suites, relaxation area, and smoking room. Plaza Premium’s signature honeycomb seat has also found its way into the Shanghai facility, while complimentary wifi is available throughout.

Dining area

Featuring a 180-degree airport runway view, the No. 77 China Eastern Plaza Premium Lounge also offers a generous selection of Chinese and Western style buffets throughout the day. Plaza Premium’s ongoing trait of adding local fare to its F&B offering is evident here, with the serving of authentic Shanghai- and Hong Kong-style noodles at the lounge’s live cooking station.

Ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the No. 77 China Eastern Plaza Premium Lounge 

To commemorate the opening of the new lounge, customers that reserve for access online through the Plaza Premium Lounge website will be entitled to a 20 per cent discount. This offer is valid until the end of the year.

For more information, visit plaza-network.com and flychinaeastern.com

Clement Huang