Back in June, China’s Shanghai Airlines, a subsidiary of China Eastern Airlines, added non-stop services from Shanghai to the Hungarian capital Budapest, giving China a direct link with the Central European country.

Now, Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport has said that the service will go daily from December, just six months after initially launching the link. However, four of the weekly flights will include stopovers in either Xian or Chengdu, while only three of the flights – the ones added in June – will be non-stop.

“The additional flights include an operation via Chengdu and Xian twice-weekly to compliment the Shanghai link which, including an established Beijing link with Air China, now sees Budapest offer four non-stop connections to China,” the airport said in a press release.

The original three-times-weekly service debuted on June 7, 2019, served by a three-class Boeing 787-9 aircraft configured with business class, premium economy and economy class seats. The four new services are also flown by a B787-9 operated by Shanghai Airlines (FM), with the marketing carrier being Shanghai Airlines’ parent China Eastern Airlines.

For the connection, passengers do not have to change aircraft in Chengdu or in Xian, though must get-off and then re-board, but stay at airside in Chengdu and Xian, according to a spokesperson for Budapest Airport.

Shanghai Airlines used to be an independent carrier, but in July 2009, China Eastern Airlines said it would acquire Shanghai Airlines in a nine billion yuan deal ($1.3 billion at that time), according to Reuters report. At the time of acquisition, Shanghai Airlines was the smaller of the two companies, operating a fleet of 66 planes as of the end of 2008, while China Eastern had 240 planes.

According to a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange, China Eastern had a fleet of 710 aircraft at the end of October 2019, including 262 self-owned aircraft, 252 aircraft under finance lease and 196 aircraft under operating lease. The filing did not state how many of those aircraft are part of Shanghai Airlines’ fleet.

Shanghai Airlines became a wholly-owned subsidiary of China Eastern while retaining its brand and independent operations, according to China’s official Xinhua News Agency.

Commenting on the new flights, Kam Jandu, chief commercial officer, Budapest Airport, says: “Shanghai Airlines’ rapid expansion on this route clearly signifies Budapest’s global popularity continues to go from strength-to-strength. The early traffic results exceed projected market demand showing even greater opportunity for our new airline partner.”

Jandu added: “The World Tourism Organisation recorded nearly two million more international visitors to Budapest last year [when compared to 2016]. We continue to work closely with all our partners to ensure demand can not only be met but surpasses expectation for all our visitors as well as offering multiple opportunities to those travelling from Hungary to discover the globe.”

For passengers interested in taking the new flights from Budapest to Shanghai via Xian or Chengdu, Budapest Airport has provided Business Traveller Asia-Pacific with the following table showing the new flight schedule:

Shanghai-Chengdu-Budapest & Budapest-Chengdu-Shanghai
Place of Departure Flight number Day of Departure Time of Departure Place of Arrival Day of Arrival Time of Arrival Airline Company
(Shanghai) Chengdu FM813 Tuesday (11:00-14:40) 16:20 Budapest Tuesday 19:40 China Eastern Airlines
(Shanghai) Chengdu FM813 Saturday (11:00-14:40) 16:20 Budapest Saturday 19:40 China Eastern Airlines
Budapest FM814 Tuesday 21:40 Chengdu (Shanghai) Wednesday 14:10 (16:10-18:55) China Eastern Airlines
Budapest FM814 Saturday 21:40 Chengdu (Shanghai) Sunday 14:10 (16:10-18:55) China Eastern Airlines
Shanghai-Xian-Budapest & Budapest-Xian-Shanghai
Place of Departure Flight number Day of Departure Time of Departure Place of Arrival Day of Arrival Time of Arrival Airline Company
(Shanghai) Xian FM809 Monday (11:00-13:40) 15:20 Budapest Monday 19:10 China Eastern Airlines
(Shanghai) Xian FM809 Thursday (11:00-13:40) 15:20 Budapest Thursday 19:10 China Eastern Airlines
Budapest FM810 Monday 21:10 Xian (Shanghai) Tuesday 13:10 (14:50-17:30) China Eastern Airlines
Budapest FM810 Thursday 21:10 Xian (Shanghai) Friday 13:10 (14:50-17:30) China Eastern Airlines