Both tourism and trade are set to benefit from a new direct route linking Norway and China.
The much-anticipated Hainan Airlines flight between Oslo and Beijing has finally been given a start date: 15 May, 2019 The flight had been announced more than a year ago and had been expected to launch last year.
Three weekly departures
The new route will operate three times per week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The overnight flight from Beijing will depart at 01:30 local time, arriving in Oslo at 05:30 local time. The departure from Oslo will be at 13:55 on Wednesdays, and at 14:30 on Mondays and Fridays.
Hainan Airlines will use an Airbus A330-300 aircraft to operate the route. They will be configured with 294 seats, of which 262 will be economy class and 32 will be business class.
It only takes a trip out into the fjord region during the summer to quickly see how much Chinese tourism has increased. Authorities have proactively targeted Chinese tourists. Norway is now the Nordic country with the most Chinese tourists.
But there's plenty of tourism and trade that goes the other way too, most notably from the Norwegian seafood industry. Demand for seafood exports continues to grow. Earlier this year, Slovakian air freight company Air Cargo Global started a direct route from Oslo to Tianjin.
“Previously, most of the air freight was from Asia to Europe. However, thanks to Norwegian seafood, among other things, there is a more even balance of freight going in both directions. From a business point of view this is of course a positive development,” said Peter Scholten, Chief Commercial Officer of Air Cargo Global.
Hainan's new direct route to China's capital offers additional cargo capacity to help meet the demand.
Who are Hainan Airlines?
China's fourth largest airline operates scheduled domestic and international services on 500 routes from Hainan and nine locations on the mainland. They are headquartered on Hainan Island, which is separated from Guangdong's Leizhou Peninsula by the Qiongzhou Strait.
Hainan is one of only a handful of airlines rated as 5-star by Skytrax. The rating recognises very high standards of both Airport and Onboard Product provided by an airline to their customers, together with consistent and high standards of front-line staff service across the airport and onboard service environments.
Frequent flyers will be disappointed to note that the airline is not part of one of the major alliances. They have their own loyalty program, Fortune Wings Club.