Hainan launches Beijing-Boston nonstop service

Updated: 2014-06-21 07:23

By JACK FREIFELDER in Boston (China Daily USA)

Hainan launches Beijing-Boston nonstop service

Xie Haoming (right), president of Hainan Airlines Co Ltd, presents an airplane model to Thomas P. Glynn, CEO of Massachusetts Port Authority at the celebration event of the airline's inaugural direct service between Boston and Beijing on Friday. Provided to China Daily

Hainan Airlines, China's fourth-largest carrier, launched its Beijing-to-Boston nonstop service on Friday with the arrival of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner at Logan International Airport.

The maiden flight landed just after 3 pm local time, giving Hainan its third destination in the United States. Return flight 482 was scheduled to leave Logan at 5:10 pm, with a scheduled arrival of 6:50 pm the next day.

The airline will use the Dreamliner for the new four-day service on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. But starting on July 18, the carrier will switch to daily flights until Aug 31, Joel Chusid, executive director of Hainan USA, said on Friday.

"Boston was the largest city [in the US] that didn't have nonstop air service to China, and this route is very important because of the educational institutions here," Chusid said Friday in an interview with China Daily. "This is our first gateway on the East Coast, the wait for visas in China has been reduced … and with this airplane we can do a lot of different things."

Massachusetts is one of the biggest markets for Chinese tourists, with close to 150,000 travelers visiting in 2012, per data from the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism.

Hainan expects to serve close to 5,000 travelers a month on the new route, according to a filing with the US Transportation Department.

Massachusetts is home to more than 40 colleges and universities with thousands of Asian and Chinese students, especially in Boston.

Hainan Airlines launched its first route to the US — Beijing-Seattle — in 2008. The Haikou, Hainan province-based airliner also operates flights from Beijing to Toronto and Chicago.

Hainan's launch is the fifth new direct flight trip between the US and China this month. The other carriers with new flights include Air China (Beijing-Washington), United Airlines (Chengdu, Sichuan province-San Francisco), Delta Airlines (Seattle-Hong Kong) and American Airlines (Shanghai-Dallas). On Aug 6, China Southern Airlines Co Ltd will launch a flight from Guangzhou, Guangdong province to New York.


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