There were celebrations at St. Petersburg Airport to mark the arrival of Sichuan Airlines’ inaugural service from Chengdu on 26 January. The airline’s deputy CEO, Li Guang, and the flight crew were greeted upon their arrival, while a giant panda was on hand to see-off the first passengers departing for China.
- Sichaun Airlines commenced flights between Chengdu (CTU) and St. Petersburg (LED) on 26 January. The carrier will operate the 6,207-kilometre airport pair twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Fridays) using its fleet of A330-200 and -300s when referencing OAG schedules. The St. Petersburg link, which will face no direct competition, becomes the Chinese carrier’s second service to Russia after Moscow Sheremetyevo, with the capital also being linked to Chengdu. Evgeniy Ilyin, CCO of St. Petersburg Airport, said of the airline’s arrival: “China remains one of the fastest growing destinations from the airport. In 2017, the direct traffic between St. Petersburg and the cities in China increased by 32% when compared to 2016, exceeding the 223,000 passenger mark. Chengdu is on the list of strategic routes for St. Petersburg and now becomes the fourth destination in China with non-stop scheduled service from the airport. We are confident that the launch of this new route will promote the mutual development of our regions, strengthen the ties between our cities and generate new tourism flows from both sides”. The arrival of Sichuan Airlines to St. Petersburg means that four Chinese operators now fly to Russia’s second city, with China Eastern Airlines serving from Shanghai Pudong, China Southern Airlines from Urumqi, and Hainan Airlines from Beijing.