A short time after launching a direct route from Tel Aviv to Shanghai, Chinese airline Hainan Airlines is announcing its intention of introducing a direct route to the Chinese city of Guangzhou. Hainan Israel general manager Li Liang made the announcement at a celebration of the first anniversary of the airline's business in Israel.
Hainan chief personnel manager Zhang Weifengb, now visiting Israel, said that the company was recruiting Israeli air crews for its international staff as part of its efforts to adapt its services to the Israeli market.
The staff recruited will be stationed in Beijing. Hainan is expected to hire 30 Israeli stewards under two-year contracts, who will undergo a three-month course. They will then fly mostly to Israel, but also to other Hainan destinations.
Hainan began its Tel Aviv-Beijing route in April 2016, and is now expanding its destinations. In the first 12 months of its operations in Israel, from May 2016 through April 2017, Hainan flew 76,649 passengers on the Tel Aviv-Beijing-Tel Aviv route.
Hainan now has a 63% share of the market in direct flights to and from China. 30% of its passengers are Israelis and 70% Chinese. 35,800 tourists entered Israel from China in January-April 2017, a 116% increase, The Ministry of Tourism is providing full support, with the aim of increasing the numbers still further.
Liang commented, "We have been pleasantly surprised by the results in Israel and the strength of the Israeli market." He explained his company's recruitment of Israelis by saying, "The goal is to make Israeli passengers feel not just confident and satisfied concerning the service, as they now are, but also at home."
Starting on September 12, Hainan will operate three directly weekly flights to Shanghai (to Pudong Airport) - on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays using Dreamliner aircraft. Ticket prices will start at $700 roundtrip in tourist class and from $2,750 in business class. The company will also increase the frequency of its flights to Beijing with a fifth weekly flight on the route, starting in September.
Hainan Airlines is China's fourth largest airline and its largest private airline. The company's air fleet numbers 177 planes, maintained by the HNA group - a Chinese maintenance giant, whose assets include international hotel chains and logistics companies.
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on June 20, 2017
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