Hainan starts Chicago-Beijing service
Updated: 2013-09-06 11:55
By China Daily (China Daily)
With a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Chicago's O'Hare airport, China's Hainan Airlines launched its new non-stop service between the Windy City and Beijing on Tuesday. The service will begin as a twice-a-week affair - Tuesdays and Sundays - but plans to expand to four days a week by December and go daily by next June. The maiden carrier - an Airbus A340 - will be upgraded to a brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner as soon as the aircraft is cleared for takeoff.
The new route makes Hainan the first Chinese airlines to enter the Beijing-to-Chicago direct market. The new route has been introduced to meet a strong demand for business travel - as well as growing demand for leisure trips - between the cities and beyond. It also complements the carrier's existing service between the Chinese capitol and Toronto and Seattle.
"Chicago is the third largest metropolitan area in the US, so the market is very important to us," Pubin Liang, general manager of Hainan Airlines North America, said at the ceremony. "Our strong presence at the Beijing hub and our convenient schedule will ensure the satisfaction of our existing and future customers."
Founded 20 years ago and headquartered in Haikou, Hainan, in terms of fleet size, is the fourth-largest airline in China. It is one of seven carriers currently given a five-star ranking by Skytrax, an independent British-based firm that ranks airlines based on product quality.
Clockwise from top left: Guests interact at the ceremony marking the launch of Bejing-Chicago direct service by Hainan Airlines in Chicago on Tuesday.
Guests cut a ribbon to mark the launch of the direct flight. From left, Wei Hou, vice-president of Hainan Airlines; Zhao Weiping, Chinese consul general to Chicago; Rosemarie S. Andolino, Chicago Department of Aviation commissioner; and Michael R. Zalewski, chairman of Committee on Aviation.
Rosemarie S. Andolino presents a picture book to Wei Hou at the launch ceremony.
Guests toast to the launch of the direct flight.
Staff of Hainan Airlines give passengers boarding passes.
Guests prepare a cake to celebrate the launch. Photos by Deng Yu / China Daily
A Hainan Airlines aircraft is ready to leave Chicago for Beijing to start the direct flight.
(China Daily USA 09/06/2013 page14)