News

Hainan Airlines eyes direct Chengdu-Chicago flights

23 Jan 2019 by Craig Bright
Hainan Airlines Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner

Hainan Airlines has its sights set on launching direct flights between Chengdu and Chicago, according to a recent Tweet from the Chinese carrier.

On Tuesday, the airline asked its Twitter followers to guess its “new destination from our [sic] Chicago”, hinting that the city was the “capital of China’s Sichuan province”, among other things.

Chengdu is the capital of China’s southwestern Sichuan province and is also home to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.

The airline has yet to announce a launch date for the route, and further details such as schedule and the type of aircraft that will operate the route are as yet unknown. The airline’s online schedule doesn’t show a non-stop service between the two cities for 2019, though it is possible to fly between the two cities on Hainan Airlines’ own metal by taking connecting flights via Beijing.

Whether the new route is even launch remains to be seen. Back in late 2017, FlightGlobal reported that the airline had submitted applications to the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) for a non-stop service between the two cities that would take off in June 2018. That date came and went without flights being launched.

At the time, Hainan Airlines also applied for two other routes – Shenzhen-Vienna and Chengdu-Tel Aviv. The former has since taken off, though a Chengdu-Tel Aviv service also has yet to materialise. The airline did launch a Guangzhou-Tel Aviv service last year, and a new Shenzhen-Tel Aviv service is set to take off on February 22.

A new non-stop service between China and Chicago would be notable following the decision last year by American Airlines to axe both its Beijing and Shanghai services out of the Windy City.

Hainan Airlines has been expanding its North America connectivity recently, notably with the launch of flights between Xian and Los Angeles at the end of December and the planned introduction of non-stop flights on its Shenzhen-Vancouver service next week when it cuts out the route’s existing Tianjin stopover.

Last year, Hainan Airlines also filed applications with the CAAC for two US routes from Chongqing serving Boston and Seattle.

Hainan Airlines could not be reached for comment.

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Business Traveller December 2019 / January 2020 edition
Business Traveller December 2019 / January 2020 edition
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