As reported previously (Tianjin Airlines to launch Gatwick route), Tianjin Airlines is preparing for its first flights from the UK, having released pricing for its route from London Gatwick’s North Terminal to Chongqing and onwards to Tianjin.
The promotional fares start from £332 return which have the attractive headline price of £9 return, though with the imposition of various taxes and charges, this comes to over £332.
In the interests of clarity Business Traveller asked for a breakdown of these and was sent the following (for a comparison with the taxes and charges on a return British Airways flight to Chengdu, see the figures at the bottom of this article):
Government, authority & airport charges Per adult
Air Passenger Duty - UK £73.00
Passenger Service Charge - UK £12.72
Airport Fee - China £9.50
Tianjin Airlines fees and carrier charges Per adult
Carrier imposed charge - YR £220.00
Carrier imposed charge - YQ £8.20
Total taxes, fees and carrier charges £323.42
Speaking to Business Traveller, spokesperson Wen Ge said that the aim was for the economy fares to be around £420, although on the website most economy fares seem to be around £650 return.
Tianjin Airlines’ flight will depart Gatwick at 2225 on Wednesday and Saturday, arriving into Chongqing at 1655 the following day, then flying onto Tianjin and arriving at 2235.
The return flight will leave Tianjin at 0935 on Wednesday and Saturday, picking passengers up from Chongqing at 1445 (Wednesday) and 1500 (Saturday) before arriving into London Gatwick at 2025 the same day.
The new flight is served with an A330-200 aircraft with 18 business class and 242 economy class seats. Two new A330-200s are being delivered to the airline by November out of a total order of ten. These will be used to increase frequencies on the route at the end of the six-month initial period.
These two new aircraft will be configured slightly differently, Mr Wen explained, with a form of Economy Comfort (Super Economy) at the front of the economy class cabin.
Confusingly there will also be an increased number of seats on board (between 20 and 40), and with no reduction in the business class cabin (still 18 business class seats) this will be achieved by reducing the leg room in the main economy cabin.
In other words the current economy class will become super economy, and a reduced leg room will then be the norm for economy, allowing the airline to fit in more seats.
It remains unclear whether this high density A330 will appear on the Gatwick route with its long flight sectors to Chongqing and Tianjin, or will be deployed on the Moscow route which starts on June 13, 2016.
Mr Wen said that he believed that despite the twice weekly frequency, the flight would be made up of 40 per cent business travellers, 40 per cent leisure travellers and 20 per cent students.
Passengers flying business class can use the No 1 Traveller Lounge at Gatwick North, the Tianjin Airline lounges at Tianjin, and partner lounges at Chongqing.
Tianjin Airlines is a subsidiary of HNA Group and currently operates a fleet of over 90 aircraft to more than 100 destinations throughout China from its eight hub destinations: Tianjin, Xi'an, Hohhot, Urumqi, Haikou, Sanya, Guiyang and Dalian.
British Airways taxes, fees and carrier charges on a flight from London to Chengdu:
Government, authority and airport charges Per adult
Air Passenger Duty - United Kingdom £73.00
Passenger Service Charge - United Kingdom £41.65
Airport Fee - China £9.40
Total government, authority and airport charges £124.05
British Airways fees and carrier charges Per adult
Carrier imposed charge £179.00
Total British Airways fees and carrier charges £179.00
Total taxes, fees and carrier charges £303.05
You can also read a forum discussion on the subject of BA's carrier imposed charges.