Chinese carrier Hainan Airlines is continuing its expansion into Australia with the launch earlier this week of flights connecting Taiyuan with Sydney via Haikou, giving China’s Shanxi province its first direct route to Australia.
Announced in November last year, the Haikou-Sydney leg of the route actually launched earlier in 2018 with the Taiyuan “tag” destination only being added this week. The service is the latest in the Hainan-based airline’s international expansion over the past few years that has included a number of new routes to Australia, notably Shenzhen-Brisbane, Shenzhen-Cairns, Xi’an-Sydney, Changsha-Sydney, Xi’an-Melbourne and Changsha-Melbourne.
Flights will be operated by the airline’s Airbus A330-300 wide-body aircraft, though frequency on the route is rather light at just two per week. These fly on Tuesdays and Thursdays heading from Taiyuan to Sydney, and on Wednesdays and Fridays on the return leg from Sydney back to Taiyuan.
|HU447||Taiyuan (TYN)||Haikou (HAK)||1130||1440||Tue, Thu|
|HU447||Haikou (HAK)||Sydney (SYD)||1740||0605+1||Tue, Thu|
|HU448||Sydney (SYD)||Haikou (HAK)||0755||1355||Wed, Fri|
|HU448||Haikou (HAK)||Taiyuan (TYN)||1730||2035||Wed, Fri|
Hainan Airlines has two configurations for its A330s – one with an older forward-facing business class seat…
…and another with a newer reverse herringbone Super Diamond seat.
Unfortunately for travellers on this route, Hainan Airlines flies its older aircraft between Taiyuan, Haikou and Sydney. That being said, both seats are able to recline to a fully flat position and both configurations are laid out in a 1-2-1 set up, meaning unhindered aisle access for all travellers regardless of their seat.
The older A330s do also feature more seats in the business class cabin compared to the newer set up – 32 versus 24.
The economy class cabin, meanwhile, is laid out in a 2-4-2 configuration. Hainan Airlines doesn’t offer a premium economy option.
Hainan Airlines has also been enhancing its partnerships as part of its expansion into the Australian market, notably beginning a reciprocal codesharing and loyalty partnership with Virgin Australia following the latter’s launch of non-stop services to Hong Kong from both Melbourne and Sydney.