A growing number of airlines are starting international services to the fast-developing city of Xian in central China.
Muncipal government initiatives have helped give this hub a booming economy, particularly in high-tech industries. In March, the Korean electronics firm Samsung announced plans to spend US$7 billion on a wafer plant that will begin operating next year.
Xian also boasts large producers of pharmaceuticals, chemical products and is home to the Xian Aircraft Industrial Corporation, which makes parts for Boeing (read more about Xian’s development here).
As part of the government’s attempts to stimulate business, the airport has been expanded to gain a second runway and third terminal which opened in May this year, increasing its handling capacity to above 33 million passengers a year.
The upgraded facility is expected to attract more international tenants, resulting in possibly more direct flights from Europe.
For its third new route to China this year, Thai AirAsia is starting daily flights between Bangkok and Xian from November 16. Flight FD2658 will leave Bangkok at 0930 to arrive at 1435; the return leg leaving Xian at 1525 and landing at 1840.
On April 1 this year, Hong Kong carrier Dragonair also resumed four-times-weekly flights to Xian. Flight KA946 leaves Hong Kong at 1205 on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, to land in Xian at 1440. The return leg leaves 1545 on the same days to land back in Hong Kong at 1835.
Korean Air currently has flown from Seoul to Xian since mid-2009 (see here) and currently operates a daily flight. It said it has no plans to operate more flights to the city at present.