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Chinese Dignitaries Fly On Inaugural Flight

China’s Hainan Airlines today launches nonstop service between Beijing and Seattle

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eTN  Jun 09, 2008

Hainan Airlines, China’s largest non-government-owned carrier, today proudly inaugurates nonstop service between Beijing and Seattle. The inaugural flight is scheduled to land in Seattle at noon today, Monday, June 9. A traditional water salute will greet the aircraft as the Airbus A330-200 taxies toward the terminal at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Hainan Airlines is the only carrier to offer nonstop service between Seattle and Beijing.

“With today's launch of Hainan Airlines’ nonstop service between Seattle and Beijing, two close partners – Washington state and China – just got closer. This historic connection will benefit travelers and further strengthen our many important business, educational, cultural ties with China, our state’s largest trading partner,” said Governor Chris Gregoire, who planned to greet passengers on the inaugural flight to Seattle during a gate reception. “I have been working for the past few years to land this nonstop flight between Seattle and Beijing. I am proud to welcome China’s largest private airline, Hainan Airlines, to Washington state and to introduce its pioneering service to travelers throughout the Pacific Northwest.”

Following the inaugural flight’s arrival, Hainan Airlines’ chairman Chen Feng, minister of the embassy of the People’s Republic of China Liu Guang Yuan, Governor Chris Gregoire, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport managing director Mark Reis and Port of Seattle commissioner Lloyd Hara will present remarks at gate S-11. A ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Hainan Airlines flight crew will officially mark the new route’s inauguration.

“Today is a major milestone in Hainan Airlines’ company history,” said Chen Feng, chairman of Hainan Airlines. “As we build an international network, we are thrilled to launch our North American service in the beautiful and thriving city of Seattle and to promote cultural and business interactions between the two regions.”

Initial flights will be on the new Airbus A330-200 aircraft with two classes of service - 36 business-class seats and 186 seats in economy. Through its extensive network in China, Hainan Airlines can connect Seattle travelers to more than 40 Chinese cities from Beijing, including Shanghai, Guangzhou and the capital of every province. The nonstop flight from Seattle to Beijing will be a prime connector for neighboring markets, such as Spokane, Portland, Boise, Denver, Austin, Dallas, San Diego and Las Vegas, none of which has nonstop service to China.

The nonstop flight will operate four times weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The approximately 11.5-hour nonstop flight from Seattle to Beijing will save roughly four to six hours of travel time by avoiding layovers when connecting through other airports such as Vancouver, B.C., or San Francisco. The return flight from Beijing to Seattle is only 10.5 hours.

Among in-flight amenities are Western and Chinese meal options, fresh-brewed coffee, a personal touch screen in every seat with 50 movies, and 180-degree, flat-reclining seats in business class with a generous 74-inch pitch. Another featured Hainan Airlines hallmark is seated, in-flight yoga.

China’s Hainan Airlines today launches nonstop service between Beijing and Seattle

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