MANCHESTER, England – On June 10, 2016, a Hainan Airlines’ Airbus A330 took off from Beijing Capital International Airport and landed at the Manchester Airport after a more than 10-hour flight. China-based Hainan Airlines today formally opened a direct air route between Beijing and Manchester, further improving the airline’s intercontinental route network in Europe and offering more choices to international travelers.
Creating a new Silk Road in the air together, and opening a new chapter in Sino-UK cooperation
To welcome its first passengers on the flight to Manchester, Hainan Airlines had the words “Hai! Manchester” painted on the side of the aircraft in celebration of the maiden journey. In addition, Hainan Airlines flight attendants prepared limited-edition postcards and British-themed gift sets for each passenger. The exciting range of maiden voyage activities highlight Hainan Airlines as an international, exclusive air service brand.
At 6:05 am local time in Britain, following the touchdown of the aircraft at Manchester Airport, Hainan Airlines held a brief welcoming ceremony in the arrivals area. Chinese Consul General in Manchester Li Yongsheng, Manchester Airport CEO Charlie Cornish and Hainan Airlines President Xie Haoming attended the event where they each delivered speeches. British and local Manchester government officials, representatives from leading local firms and commercial associations, Hainan Airlines’ local key customers and supportive media outlets gathered at the airport to witness the important moment of the successful maiden voyage from Beijing to Manchester together with Hainan Airlines.
On the afternoon of the same day, Hainan Airlines was invited to visit the National Football Museum together with local government officials, representatives from local commercial associations and key companies as well as news media outlets from China, the UK and other countries, providing an opportunity to experience the definitive football culture that the city of Manchester is known for.
A factor heightening the importance and the likely success of the newly-launched air route is the extension of the visa term for Chinese nationals visiting the UK from six months to two years, a relaxation in visa regulations that was announced earlier this year. The UK government is also planning to launch a ten-year multiple entry visa program, providing more accessibility to the country for Chinese visitors. The opening of the air route between Beijing and Manchester is expected to entice more investors from China to invest in northern England and make it more convenient for business executives and travelers travelling between China and Britain as well as between China and Europe generally.
Opening a new air route in support of the “One Belt One Road” policy, and responding to the Chinese government’s national development strategy
Hainan Airlines’ air route between Beijing and Manchester enables the first direct air service between the two big cities. The addition of the route at this time is also in response to and in support of the “One Belt, One Road” initiative, the program rolled out by Chinese President Xi Jinping, to rebuild a modern equivalent of the ancient silk route that joined China to Europe in ancient times, as well as the Northern Powerhouse program, the UK government’s program to boost economic growth in the north of England. The direct route creates not only an air traffic bridge between the two cities but also a new Silk Road in the air.
2016 is the starting year of China’s 13th Five-Year Plan period and also the year when China and countries along the route spelled out by the “One Belt, One Road” policy are expected to engage in efforts to promote the initiative. As the expectations behind the initiative are constantly evolving and bilateral exchanges are being further enhanced, Hainan Airlines plans to continue expanding its intercontinental network of routes in Europe and America in alignment with the initiative, while tapping into emerging markets such as Latin America and Africa. In addition, the airline will continue to play a key role as the signature representative of Eastern culture and become a cultural pioneer in the “One Belt, One Road” initiative.
Hainan Airlines provides travelers with the Beauty of the Orient in tandem with a world-class experience through its network of international routes.
In 2016, Hainan Airlines opened several international routes, including Changsha-Los Angeles, Beijing-Tel Aviv and Beijing-Manchester. The new Beijing-Calgary route is scheduled to be launched later this month. Contributions from the international side of the business to the company’s revenue stream are growing year by year as Hainan Airlines expands rapidly in global markets. Hainan Airlines currently operates several intercontinental routes. With its comprehensive domestic network and partnerships with local airlines in the UK, the company will provide passengers travelling between China and the UK with more destination and route choices.
The airline has created its distinct Eastern hospitality by combining Chinese cultural aesthetics with its unique approach to an Oriental-style service. In addition, the company has built a new international brand image with its “Oriental Beauty” concept in a move to provide an enhanced level of services. Hainan Airlines has been named as a SKYTRAX five-star airline for five consecutive years. It is one of the world’s seven SKYTRAX five-star airlines and the only SKYTRAX member from mainland China. The airline has been widely recognized by Chinese and international travelers for the quality of its services.
As the ancient Chinese saying explains, “A chance encounter can lead to a cherished experience in return”, Hainan Airlines can take you from the Beauty of the Orient and deliver you into a quintessentially British experience.
HNA Beijing-Manchester Flight Schedule (Note: All takeoff and landing times are local time):
Flight No. Route Departure Arrival Frequency
HU7903 Beijing-Manchester 01:45 06:05 Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday
HU7904 Manchester-Beijing 12:25 05:50+1 Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday