SEATTLE â€“ Feb. 5, 2008 â€“ Hainan Airlines, Chinaâ€™s largest privately owned carrier (airline code: HU), today announced its first service to North America with nonstop flights from Seattle to Beijing beginning on June 9, 2008.
Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire said, â€œI enthusiastically welcome Hainan Airlines to Washington state. During my trade mission to China in 2005, I urged the Hainan Airlines Chairman to begin nonstop flights from Seattle to Beijing, and I am thrilled that such flights will soon be a reality. China is Washingtonâ€™s No. 1 international trading partner, and nonstop flights between Seattle and Beijing will promote increased business, tourism and cultural understanding.â€
Port of Seattle Commission President John Creighton said, â€œThe Puget Sound region is a key trading partner with China. Hainan Airlinesâ€™ nonstop service to Beijing will continue to promote our regionâ€™s business, tourist and cultural connections to the worldâ€™s fastest-growing economy.â€
â€œHainan Airlines is honored to begin nonstop service to North America, and Seattle, in particular, as our first city,â€ said Mr. Deng Jian, Hainan Airlinesâ€™ chief marketing officer in Beijing. â€œSeattle and the Pacific Northwest are home to many world-class companies that have significant business ties to China. We look forward to being Seattleâ€™s nonstop gateway to China for both business and leisure travelers. We hope to strengthen the friendship between China and the United States through our world-class service.â€
With U.S. Department of Transportation approval in hand, Hainan Airlines can now begin the process of taking reservations and selling tickets on its North American reservation and information number â€“ 1-888-688-8813. This toll-free number will connect travelers to both native English and Chinese speakers to assist them with their travel needs.
Hainan Airlines is expected to be the only carrier to offer nonstop service between Seattle and Beijing when it begins operations this summer. Initial flights will be on new Airbus A330-200 aircraft with two classes of service â€“ business and economy. There will be 36 business class seats and 186 economy class seats.
Hainan Airlines is a China launch customer for the new Boeing 787 and will begin flying the revolutionary jet when it becomes available. Until then, the airline will launch service with the efficient and comfortable Airbus A330.
Through its extensive network in China, Hainan Airlines can connect Seattle travelers to more than 40 Chinese cities, including the capitals of each province. Hainan Airlinesâ€™ flight to Beijing will also offer convenient connecting flights to major Chinese cities such as Shanghai.
The direct flight from Seattle to Beijing will be a prime connector for neighboring Northwest markets, such as Spokane, Portland, Boise and Las Vegas, none of which have nonstop flights to China.
The nonstop flight will operate four times weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Flight HU 495 will depart from Beijing at 4:20 p.m. and arrive in Seattle at noon the same day. Flight HU 496 will depart from Seattle at 2 p.m. and arrive in Beijing at 4:35 p.m. the following day.
The approximately 11.5 hour direct flight from Seattle to Beijing will save roughly 4 to 6 hours by avoiding layovers when connecting through other airports such as Vancouver or San Francisco. It is only a 10.5 hour return flight from Beijing to Seattle.
In-flight features will include healthy, fresh, sumptuous meals from both Western and Chinese cuisine, the latest in in-flight entertainment technology including personal touch screens for movies in every seat, and 180-degree, flat reclining seats in business class. Another Hainan Airlines hallmark featured on each flight is seated in-flight yoga.
Hainan Airlines has appointed AirWorld Inc. as its general sales agent for North America. In addition to the toll-free reservation and information number, AirWorld will provide reservations, sales and ticketing from six convenient North American offices â€“ New York City, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Toronto and Vancouver, B.C. â€“ to best serve passengers and travel agents alike.
About Hainan Airlines
Founded in 1993, Hainan Airlines currently is the fourth largest carrier in China and the largest private airline in China. Hainan Airlines is known for its award-winning customer service, impeccable safety record and on-time performance. Hainan Airlines carries more than 14 million passengers annually. Hainan Airlines currently flies to more than 90 domestic and international cities, including the capitals of each province. Hainan Airlinesâ€™ international flights include Budapest, Brussels, Osaka, St. Petersburg, and in May 2008 the airline will begin service to Berlin.
The toll-free North American reservation and information number â€“ 1-888-688-8813 â€“ will connect travelers to both native English and Chinese speakers to assist them with their travel needs.
For more information on Hainan Airlinesâ€™ North American flights, please visit http://us.hnair.com.