Hainan Airlines is cutting out the Tianjin stopover of its Shenzhen-Vancouver service on January 28, giving the Guangdong province city its first non-stop connection to Canada.
The new non-stop service will continue to operate twice per week on the same days, Monday and Friday. By cutting out the stopover in Tianjin Hainan Airlines will trim four hours off the journey, with the non-stop services scheduled to take between 12.5 and 13.5 hours depending on the direction.
Flight HU7959 will depart Shenzhen at 1220 – later than it does at the moment – and arrive in Vancouver at 0850 the same day. The returning HU7960 will then fly out of Vancouver at 1050 and land back in Shenzhen at 1620 the following day.
Of particularly good news for business class passengers is that Hainan Airlines will fly its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the non-stop flights. The Chinese carrier has two configurations for this aircraft each with a different business class seat product, but it will be the airline’s newer reverse-herringbone seats that travellers will get on the Vancouver service, Hainan Airlines confirmed in a statement published on its official website.
These seats first started rolling out in May 2017 and are based off of the Cirrus 3 seat product originally made by Zodiac Aerospace, now acquired by Safran Seats. Regular travellers may recognise the seat as being the same product used by Cathay Pacific on board its Boeing 777-300ERs and Airbus A350s.
Hainan Airlines’ 787-9s feature 30 of these seats in the business class cabin laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration, meaning direct aisle access is available for all 30 passengers. The seats recline 180 degrees to form a fully flat 78-inch-long bed.
There are also 226 seats in the economy class cabin along with four rows of extra-legroom seats, called Hainan Plus, located at the front of the economy section. The seat products are the same and both are laid out in a 3-3-3 configuration, though the Hainan Plus seats offer 36 inches of pitch (legroom) rather than the standard 32 inches in the rest of the economy cabin.
Hainan Airlines isn’t the only carrier linking up China with Canada. Fellow HNA Group carrier Hong Kong Airlines launched non-stop flights to Vancouver in 2017. As of March 22, the airline will fly its A350-900 on the route.