Hainan Airlines targets new Chongqing-New York route

Times Square, New York City

Hainan Airlines’ growing focus on North America continues, with the Chinese carrier announcing this week that it plans to open up a new route between Chongqing and New York JFK this year starting October 20.

The first non-stop route between central and western China and New York, the service follows the airline’s other recently launched service between the Chinese city and the US – its twice-weekly Chongqing-Los Angeles flights. As with the Los Angeles service, the New York route will be flown twice weekly (Wednesday, Friday from Chongqing and Thursday, Saturday from New York).

Also similar to its other recent North America routes, flights HU415/HU416 are expected to be flown by Hainan Airlines’ B787-8 Dreamliners, which it configures with 36 lie-flat business class seats and 177 economy class seats. These are not to be confused with its recently revamped B787-9 Dreamliner layout, which the airline will be deploying on its two recently announced services from Shanghai to Brussels and Tel Aviv.

Along with its service from Chongqing to Los Angeles, Hainan Airlines also recently began flying from Chengdu to Los Angeles, as well as launching a new Beijing-Las Vegas route last December.

For an in-depth overview of Hainan Airlines, read our “Hainan Airlines: What you need to know” article.

Details of the Chongqing-New York route are as follows (all times local):

Flight No. From To Departs Arrives Days
HU415 Chongqing New York 2200 0050+1 Wed, Fri
HU416 New York Chongqing 0250 0635+1 Thu, Sat


Hainan Airlines eyes Shanghai-Tel Aviv service in September

A view to the east, depicting the cityscape of downtown Tel-Aviv and its neighboring city Ramat-Gan at dusk. This is the central skyscraper area in the biggest metropolis in Israel.

Just a few days after it announced a new Brussels service from Shanghai for later in the year, Hainan Airlines has unveiled another new westbound route from its Shanghai hub, this time to Tel Aviv.

Due to launch on September 12 from Shanghai Pudong International Airport, the new service will follow the launch in April last year of its Beijing-Tel Aviv service. The Chinese carrier is set to deploy its B787-9 Dreamliner on the route – as it plans to do with its new Brussels service also – that will notably be equipped with its new Dreamliner layout.

The new configuration includes a change from a 2-2-2 set up in business class to a 1-2-1 layout, with all seats being lie-flat herringbone. Premium economy and economy are also available in the new layout, both in a 3-3-3 configuration.

Flights HU407/HU408 will operate three times weekly on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Departure from Shanghai and arrival in Tel Aviv will be in the morning, while the return leg will leave Tel Aviv just after midday and arrive back in Shanghai in the early hours of the following morning. (It is worth noting that arrival in and departure from Tel Aviv differs by one hour during the Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer seasons.)

Full details of the schedule are as follows (all times local):

Flight No. From To Departs Arrives Days
HU407 Shanghai Pudong Tel Aviv 125 0830 (*0730) Tue, Thu, Sun
HU408 Tel Aviv Shanghai Pudong 1355 (*1255) 0530+1

*From Oct 29, 2017-Mar 22, 2018


Hainan Airlines to fly Shanghai-Brussels non-stop

Chinese carrier Hainan Airlines looks set to offer a new non-stop service to Brussels from Shanghai Pudong later this year. The airline has been rapidly expanding its international network to destinations in Australasia and the US over the past 18 months, and now Europe appears to be in its frame.

Launching on October 25, the three-times-weekly service will fly on Monday, Wednesday and Friday using the airline’s B787-9 Dreamliner – which it also recently began operating on its Beijing-Manchester route. Flight HU7921 is an early morning service, departing Shanghai at 0125 and arriving in Brussels at 0730. The return HU7922 leg, meanwhile, departs Brussels just after midday at 1230 and arrives the following morning in Shanghai at 0530.

These new Brussels flights will also feature Hainan Airlines’ new B787-9 layout, which it rolled out on May 10 this year. The new format notably includes a 1-2-1 herringbone seat set-up in business class, with 30 lie-flat, 42-inch-pitch seats in total – a change from the previous 2-2-2 layout. Passengers in business also receive Bose headphones and Bulgari amenity kits.

Both premium economy (called Hainan Plus) and economy are laid out nine across (3-3-3) in the new layout, with the former featuring 36 seats with a 36-inch pitch, and the latter offering 226 seats with 32 inches of pitch.

The Shanghai route is the airline’s second service to Brussels, joining its existing route between Beijing and the Belgian capital.


Hainan Airlines opens new lounge in Beijing

Hainan Airlines Prime Wings Lounge Beijing Capital International Airport

Hainan Airlines has opened a new Prime Wings Lounge at the Beijing Capital International Airport.


The facility is located near gate 12 of the international terminal, open to Fortune Wings Club silver, gold and platinum cardholder, and business and first class passengers.


Designed by Hong Kong designer Patrick Leung, it is inspired by the nature and peace of Hainan, and decorated by soft lightings and wavy furniture.


The 726 sqm-space can accommodate 150 passengers, and consist of several zones, such as tea zone, reading zone, sleeping zone and shower suite zone.


The lounge serves global dishes and includes special snacks. It is also equipped with Nespresso capsule coffee machine and will introduce themed F&B from time to time.


Sun Jianfeng, president of the airline said: “We need to provide a wide variety of services to meet the demands from passengers who have different language and cultural backgrounds. We have to keep providing personalised products and high standard of services.


“In recent years, Hainan Airlines has been introducing new aircraft, cabin configuration and facilities, as well as ground products. We hope our services and products can reach the international standard.”



Hainan Airlines’ two new Los Angeles routes take off

Hainan Airlines 787-8

Chinese carrier Hainan Airlines’ two new Los Angeles services have now officially launched, providing new links between the US west coast and Chengdu and Chongqing in the west of China.

The airline’s Chengdu-Los Angeles service took off last week, while its Chongqing-Los Angeles flights – the first direct flight connecting the Chinese city with North America – officially began yesterday (March 21).

The new routes join Hainan Airlines’ existing North America services, which include routes to Seattle, San Jose, Chicago, Boston, Toronto, Calgary and Las Vegas, the last of which it launched in December last year.

Hainan Airlines is deploying Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners on both the new Los Angeles routes, which is configures with 36 business and 177 economy class seats – with fully flat seating offered in the former.

Outside of the US, the carrier is also expanding its Australasia services, with a new Shenzhen-Auckland route also launched last December, along with flights connecting Changsha and Sydney, and Xian and Changsha with Melbourne in November.


Fortune Wings Club to revamp in July

Hainan Airlines B787-9 business class

Fortune Wings Club – a loyalty programme of nine Chinese airlines – will be revamped in July this year.

The new model will be a revenue-based accrual system. Points will be earned depending on the ticket price (including surcharge) and membership level instead of class and flight distance. Meanwhile, status upgrade criteria and level maintenance will remain unchanged.

Here is an example:

Return business class tickets of Beijing-Tokyo route is RMB4,480 (US$649) with RMB778 (US$113) surcharge.

Tier New calculation Points gained (new) Points gained (original)
Fortune Wings RMB10 = 10 pts 5,250 5,282
Select RMB10 = 10 + 1 pts 5,775 5,282
Silver RMB10 = 10 + 3 pts 6,825 6,603
Gold RMB10 = 10 + 6 pts 8,400 7,923
Platinum RMB10 = 10 + 8 pts 9,450 7,923

The new membership only applies to eight of the Fortune Wings Club member airlines, which are Hainan Airlines, Grand China Air, Tianjin Airlines, Lucky Air, Capital Airlines, Fuzhou Airlines, Yangtze River Airlines and Guangxi Beibu Gulf Airlines. Points for flights on Hong Kong Airlines (an airline member of the loyalty programme) and other partner airlines such as Alaska Airlines, Airberlin and Etihad Airways will remain earning based on the flight class and distance.

The new rules are applied based on the passenger’s flight date. If you purchase tickets before July 1, and the departure date is on or after July 1, points will be awarded based on the new accrual system. Tickets purchased for flights departing before July 1 will accrue points based on the existing system.


Hainan Airlines: What you need to know

Hainan Airlines Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner

Founded: Hainan Airlines has been in operation since January 1993. While the airline has perhaps not been as well known as the “big three” of China’s airlines (Air China, China Eastern and China Southern) throughout a large part of its existence, the airline is growing rapidly. Hainan Airlines has been around for just two years shorter than China Southern and less than five years shorter than Air China and China Eastern.

Home base: While Hainan Airlines makes its headquarters in Haikou on the southern Chinese island of Hainan, the carrier has two primary hubs: Haikou Meilan International Airport and Beijing Capital International Airport.

Fleet size: Hainan Airlines has a passenger and cargo fleet size of approximately 180 aircraft, as of February 2017. The vast majority of these are Boeing 737-800s, of which the airline has 129 and configures in a two-class set up with eight business and 156 economy class seats. Hainan Airlines also has nine B787-9 Dreamliners, ten B787-8 Dreamliners, 14 Airbus A330-300s, nine A330-200s, and three B767-300s, B737-700HHs and B737-700s.

In June 2016, Hainan Airlines took delivery of the jewel of its fleet, a B787-9 with 30 “Super Diamond” business seats and 259 economy seats. The aircraft also features free on-board wifi and Panasonic’s eX3 IFE system, along with Bulgari amenity kits and Bose noise-cancelling headphones for business class passengers. Also of particular note is the fact that Hainan Airlines is among the declining number of carriers to offer a nine-across economy class seating configuration in its Boeing aircraft.

Route network: Hainan Airlines has an impressive route network that includes an array of destinations in both Europe and North America, including London, Paris, Zurich, Madrid, Moscow, New York, San Francisco, Toronto and Washington DC.

However, the Haikou-based carrier has also been rapidly expanding its international long-haul network over the past few months, most notably launching new flights between Shenzhen and Auckland, and direct flights between Beijing and Las Vegas in December 2016, and flights from Xian and Changsha to Melbourne as well as Changsha to Sydney in September 2015.

Alliance: Hainan Airlines is not currently part of an airline alliance.

Codeshares: Among the most notable Hainan Airlines codeshare partners are: Air Berlin, American Airlines, Beijing Capital Airlines (a subsidiary of Hainan Airlines), Brussels Airlines, Etihad Airways, Eva Air, Hong Kong Airlines, Korean Air, and Tianjin Airlines (also a subsidiary).

Future plans: In addition to the aircraft currently in its fleet, the carrier has a further 76 aircraft on order from Boeing – including 50 B737-8 max and 21 B787-9 Dreamliners – and seven A330s on order from Airbus.

In addition and in line with the carrier’s aggressive expansion plans, Hainan Airlines is also set to launch two new Los Angeles flights connecting destinations in western China with the West Coast of the US in March. Chengdu-Los Angeles is set to launch on March 15, 2017 and Chongqing-Los Angeles will take off soon after on March 21, both operated by a two-class B787-8 Dreamliner.


Virgin Australia eyes flights to Hong Kong

Hong Kong skyline

Virgin Australia will begin flying direct to Hong Kong starting mid-2017, following the announcement of a proposed alliance agreement with HNA Aviation – which operates the mainland Chinese carrier Hainan Airlines – Hong Kong Airlines and low-cost carrier HK Express. The airlines today submitted an application for authorisation to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to gain approval for the alliance.

The agreement will also see the introduction of codeshare agreements on flights between Hong Kong and Australia, as well as mainland China and Australia. Virgin Australia also announced it plans to begin operating direct flights from Australia to mainland China “in further stages of the agreement”.

Currently, all Virgin Australia flights to Hong Kong and mainland China travel via Singapore and are operated by its flag carrier, Singapore Airlines.

Virgin’s new direct Hong Kong flights will be operated by Airbus A330 aircraft, which are currently equipped with its “The Business” business class offering. Travellers flying to Hong Kong will then be able to connect with Hong Kong Airlines’ mainland China flights.

Meanwhile, customers travelling with Beijing Capital Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines and Tianjin Airlines will be able to connect to Virgin Australia’s domestic and trans-Tasman flights.

“This new alliance will be a game changer for travel between Australia and China, providing significantly more competition and choice for travellers,” said Virgin Australia group CEO, John Borghetti. “The alliance will accelerate and support our access to the Chinese market, which is Australia’s fastest growing and most valuable inbound travel market.

“HNA Aviation fly nearly 100 million passengers each year and we look forward to working collaboratively with them to drive inbound visitation to Australia, resulting in significant benefits for the Australian tourism industry and broader economy.”

In addition to new routes and codeshares, the alliance will see members of Virgin Australia’s Velocity Frequent Flyer and Hong Kong Airlines’ Fortune Wings Club loyalty programmes able to accrue miles on alliance routes, along with receiving reciprocal access to tier benefits. These include lounge access, priority check in and boarding, and additional baggage allowance.

The past few months have seen a slew of new routes connecting Hong Kong and mainland China with destinations in Australasia, including Hainan Airlines’ new Shenzhen-Auckland service, Hong Kong Airlines’ flights to Auckland and the planning of a new Tianjin Airlines Chongqing-Melbourne route.

China Eastern also recently launched flights between Sydney and Wuhan, and Shanghai and Brisbane, while Qantas’ Beijing-Sydney route took off in late January.

virginaustralia.com; hkairlines.com; hkexpress.com; hainanairlines.com

Hainan Airlines’ Shenzhen-Auckland service takes off

Auckland city at night

Chinese carrier Hainan Airlines has launched a new three-times-weekly service between Shenzhen and Auckland – the carrier’s first international route from the southern Chinese city.

The service’s inaugural flight HU7931 departed Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport at 1355 on December 29 and arrived at Auckland at 0630 local time today (December 30). Hainan Airlines is deploying its Airbus A330-200 on the route, outfitted with 36 business and 178 economy class seats.

Speaking about the new route, Sun Jianfeng, director of Hainan Airlines, said: “The Shenzhen-Auckland route is Hainan Airlines’ first international service departing Shenzhen. The Chinese government has been working hard on developing Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport as an international aviation hub and launching the route is definitely a benefit for that.”

Details of the new route are as follows:

Flight No. From To Departs Arrives Days
HU7931 Shenzhen Auckland 1355 0630+1 Tue, Thu, Sat
HU7932 Auckland Shenzhen 0830 1525 Wed, Fri, Sun

The new service comes as Hainan Airlines has been expanding its long-haul operations. Earlier this month, the carrier launched a direct service between Beijing and Las Vegas – the sole Chinese carrier offering a direct service connecting the two cities.

Meanwhile, the airline is also applying to launch three routes to London, including a new Chengdu-London direct service this coming January – a route British Airways is set to axe in January. The route will be operated three times weekly by either an A330-200 or a Dreamliner. The airline is also planning to fly to the UK from Changsha in April using an A330-200, and from Shenzhen in August by A330-200 or B787.

Director of Strategy and Communications of Visit Britain, Patricia Yates, said: “Britain is packed full of amazing moments and experiences and offering great value for Chinese visitors right now. We want to deliver a world-class visitor experience for Chinese customers. Working with commercial partners Hainan Airlines we’re making it easier to travel to Britain through increasing route connectivity and seat-capacity, a crucial part of our competitive tourism offer.”


Hainan Airlines’ direct Beijing–Las Vegas service commences

Launch of Hainan Airlines' direct Beijing-Las Vegas service

Chinese carrier Hainan Airlines has launched a new non-stop, three-times-weekly service from Beijing to Las Vegas, the tenth route operated by the airline between China and North America. Hainan Airlines is the sole Chinese airline offering direct route between the two cities.

As with its existing North America services, Hainan Airlines is deploying its Boeing B787 on the new Las Vegas route. All of Hainan Airlines’ B787s currently offer in-flight wifi, while business class passengers receive Bose noise-cancelling headphones and Bulgari-brand amenity kits. Meanwhile, the B787 deployed for the inaugural flight featured a Kung Fu Panda-theme livery, along with similarly themed interior designs.

According to the airline’s timetable, the three weekly flights (on Monday, Wednesday and Friday) have slight arrival and departure time variations, with flights departing Beijing between 1140 and 1500 and arriving in Las Vegas at 1110. The return journey, meanwhile, departs Las Vegas at 1310 and arrives back in Beijing between 1805 and 1905 the following day.

The new route, announced back in September, expands the airline’s North America network, which now includes routes from destinations in China to Boston, Calgary, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Jose, Seattle and Toronto. The Chinese carrier first began serving North America with the launch of its Beijing-Seattle service in 2008.

Full details of the new route are as follows (all times local):

Flight No. From To Departs Arrives Days
HU7969 Beijing Las Vegas 1500 1110 Mon
1440 Wed
1455 Fri
HU7970 Las Vegas Beijing 1310 1805+1 Mon, Wed
1905+1 Fri