Chinese carrier Juneyao Airlines has its sights set on London with the Shanghai-based airline having submitted an application to launch non-stop flights between the two cities in July this year, a document released by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) shows.
The proposed thrice-weekly route is one of three international routes that Juneyao Airlines is looking to launch from Shanghai Pudong this year, alongside flights to Cairo in June and to Vladivostok in November. Both the Cairo and Vladivostok applications were for two weekly flights on the routes.
Approached by Business Traveller Asia-Pacific for comment, a spokesperson for Juneyao Airlines said they were unable to provide any details regarding the proposed service.
Juneyao Airlines only has one type of aircraft in its fleet that could make the long-haul flight between Shanghai and London, the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Juneyao took delivery of its first Dreamliner in October and has since flown the aircraft on domestic services between Shanghai, Shenzhen, Sanya, Chengdu and Chongqing ahead of its eventual deployment on transcontinental flights.
As previously reported by Business Traveller Asia-Pacific, Juneyao’s Dreamliner is notable for having a significantly more impressive business class seat product than those found elsewhere on its fleet.
The airline has made use of Thompson Aero’s Vantage XL fully flat seats, the same product found on Delta’s Airbus A350s and Qantas’s Dreamliners. The aircraft’s business class cabin comprises 29 of the seats laid out in a forward-facing staggered 1-2-1 configuration. Seats offer a width of between 23 and 24 inches and a seated pitch of 42 inches.
The Dreamliner also features a new economy class seat product based on Recaro’s CL3710 model, which are laid out nine-across.
Juneyao Airlines became the first carrier to be admitted to Star Alliance under the airline alliance’s new Connecting Partner programme in 2017, designed to allow smaller, regional carriers to enter as partial members without being required to fulfil all the criteria of a full member. Since then it has had its sights set on expanding its network to destinations further afield.
But the airline is entering an increasingly crowded market with China-UK flights. A plethora of Chinese carriers have opened up new routes connecting cities in China with London over the past 18 months, among them China Eastern, Shenzhen Airlines, China Southern, Air China and Tianjin Airlines.
Flag carrier Air China also plans to boost frequency on its Beijing-London route to thrice daily starting March 31.