Edinburgh celebrated the arrival of Hainan Airlines’ inaugural service from Beijing on 12 June. Meeting the aircraft were Gordon Dewar, CEO, Edinburgh Airport; Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy; Bao Qifa, Chairman of Hainan Airlines; and Sir John Elvidge, Chairman of Edinburgh Airport. Piper Conner Pratt was on hand to give the first departure a traditional Scottish send off.
On the same day a launch event was held in Dublin. Hainan Airlines cabin crew Jonny Yang and Joy Zhang joined Jon Woolf, SVP Aviation Business Development, Dublin Airport and Frank Shi Zhiwei, Sales & Marketing Director, Hainan Airlines for a ceremonial cake cutting. Flights will operate from Beijing to Dublin and Edinburgh four times weekly on the Chinese carrier’s A330-300s.
- Hainan Airlines added two European nodes to its network on 12 June with the introduction of services from Beijing (PEK) to Dublin (DUB) and Edinburgh (EDI). There will be four weekly flights to both the Scottish and Irish capital cities, with each European airport welcoming two direct and two indirect services. On Tuesdays and Saturdays the itinerary flown is Beijing-Edinburgh-Dublin-Beijing, while on Thursdays and Saturdays flights operate Beijing-Dublin-Edinburgh-Beijing. According to OAG, the direct Beijing-Dublin sector length is 8,264 kilometres, but this increases to 8,269 kilometres when flights operate via Edinburgh. The direct Beijing-Edinburgh route has a sector length of 7,932-kilometres which increases to 8,600 kilometres when flights operate via Dublin. All flights will be operated by A330-300s and there is no direct competition. “This is a momentous day as we connect not only Edinburgh and Beijing for the first time, but Scotland and China too,” said Gordon Dewar, CEO, Edinburgh Airport. “It is a route which has immense opportunities for our countries, from tourism and business to culture, education and more. We know Edinburgh is second only to London for Chinese tourists and we are eager to welcome more people to our fantastic capital city, but it’s also about connecting people from Scotland to Beijing and wider China thanks to Hainan’s hub network.” In Dublin, Vincent Harrison, Dublin Airport MD said: “We are delighted to welcome Hainan Airlines to Dublin Airport and to Ireland. We have worked really hard to bring this direct route to Ireland and today is the result of many years of dialogue. Trade between Ireland and China is hugely important for our economy and it is currently estimated to be worth more than €14.9 billion per year. The new direct route will greatly facilitate Irish firms and exporters with operations and clients in China, as well as China’s financial services and technology companies investing in Ireland.” Bao Quifa, Chairman, Hainan Airlines, added: “We are delighted to launch this first ever direct route between Dublin and Beijing and we are very proud that Hainan Airlines will play a central role in forging greater friendship and cooperation between our two countries.” See how Edinburgh Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.