Hainan Airlines plans to add a third Canadian destination to its network on May 25, 2018, launching its first service to Vancouver from its south China hub in Shenzhen.
Unlike its current flights to Toronto and Calgary, which are not only non-stop but also depart from Beijing rather than Shenzhen, the twice-weekly Vancouver flights won’t be a non-stop service, instead stopping over in Tianjin.
“Following our Toronto-Beijing and Calgary-Beijing routes, this new Vancouver service demonstrates Hainan Airlines’ confidence in the China-Canada civil aviation market,” said Hainan Airlines vice president, Jichun Liu.
For Vancouver Airport, the new service brings the number of mainland Chinese carriers serving the airport up to seven along with Air Canada, which flies non-stop to Beijing and Shanghai.
“As the first airport in Canada offering service to Shenzhen and Tianjin, the route will provide direct access to new markets for business travellers and offer more options for leisure travellers exploring China,” said Craig Richmond, Vancouver Airport Authority’s president and CEO.
The outbound flight from Shenzhen departs in the morning, arriving in Vancouver that morning (local time), while the return leg from Vancouver departs just before midday and arrives in Shenzhen the following afternoon (local time).
|HU7959||Shenzhen (SZX)||Tianjin (TSN)||0725||1025||Mon, Fri|
|Tianjin (TSN)||Vancouver (YVR)||1325||0930|
|HU7960||Vancouver (YVR)||Tianjin (TSN)||1130||1415+1||Mon, Fri|
|Tianjin (TSN)||Shenzhen (SZX)||1645+1||1945+1|
Hainan Airlines will be deploying its Airbus A330-300 aircraft on the route, however it doesn’t look like this will be one featuring the airline’s all-new A330-300 business class and economy cabins, which the Chinese carrier unveiled last year.
The good news is that the older aircraft have more premium seats – 32 compared with the newer business class cabin’s 24 – and these are laid out 1-2-1 and can all recline to a fully flat position. Business class passengers also get a pair of Bose noise-cancelling headphones and a Bulgari amenity kit.
The Vancouver route marks an increased focus by Hainan Airlines on its Shenzhen hub, with new services to Brussels and Madrid set to take off in March from the Guangdong province airport.
Hong Kong Airlines, another member of the HNA Group under which Hainan Airlines operates, also recently began flying to Vancouver. In June last year, the airline launched flights to the city – its first route to North America – from Hong Kong, located just across the border from Shenzhen.