Hainan Airlines expanding China flights at Edinburgh Airport

Edinburgh Airport is set to witness a substantial increase in flights to China in 2024, as Hainan Airlines bolsters its operations in the Scottish capital.

This development underscores Edinburgh’s enduring appeal to international travellers and signals substantial growth for Hainan Airlines at Edinburgh Airport. Notably, Edinburgh Airport stands as the sole airport in Scotland offering direct flights to China, highlighting the city’s strategic importance in fostering global connectivity.

Hainan’s extended schedule will include flights between Edinburgh and Beijing from May 17 to October 26, 2024, marking an expansion of nine weeks compared to the previous year. During the peak summer months, from June 1 to September 30, there will be four flights per week, with an additional two flights per week during other times. Hainan Airlines will deploy the Airbus A330-300 for these operations.

Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport said: ‘It’s great to see our partners at Hainan Airlines grow their presence at Edinburgh Airport and maintain that crucial direct connectivity between Scotland and China.

‘We know there is a continued attractiveness and allure of Scotland as an international destination, and that is acutely felt in China where our stunning scenery, our world-renowned food and drink, and our well sought after educational institutions are all highly regarded. These additional flights will also offer people in Scotland more opportunities to experience China and increase the potential for closer working and investment prospects for businesses both at home and abroad.’

Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland Chief Executive, said: ‘The return and increased capacity of this direct route connecting Beijing to Edinburgh is further evidence of the undeniable demand for our world famous offering. Scotland is perfectly placed to benefit from increased interest from Chinese visitors who are often looking for unique and exciting experiences the whole family can enjoy.

‘We know that making it as easy as possible for people to come here makes Scotland a more enticing destination. Overseas holidaymakers tend to stay longer and spend more. They are an increasingly important part of the visitor economy, helping to attract investment, create jobs and sustain communities.’

The extended flight schedule is slated to operate from May 17 to October 26, 2024, with services on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays during peak summer. Additionally, flights will run on Mondays and Fridays during other periods, providing a consistent and accessible link between Edinburgh and Beijing throughout the specified timeframe.

Hainan Airlines launches Beijing to Manchester direct air service

China-based Hainan Airlines has formally launched a direct air route between Beijing and Manchester, strengthening the airline’s intercontinental route network in Europe and offering more choices to international travellers.

The new Beijing-Manchester-Beijing air route with operate every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. The introduction of the air route follows 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 programme, offering increased accessibility to the UK for Chinese visitors. The opening of the air route between Beijing and Manchester is expected to attract more investors from China to invest in northern England. It will also make it more convenient for business executives and travellers travelling between China and Britain as well as between China and Europe generally.

Further, the addition of new air route also supports the ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative, a programme launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping, to rebuild a modern equivalent of the ancient silk route that connected China to Europe in ancient times, as well as the Northern Powerhouse programme, the UK government’s programme to improve economic growth in the north of England. The direct route established an air traffic bridge between the two cities as well as a new Silk Road in the air.

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. The company has also created 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.