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Talks over direct link

Hainan Airlines’ Edinburgh flights ‘under negotiation’

Hainan Airlines - contributed pic

Direct flights to Beijing were described as ‘momentous’


 

Edinburgh’s direct flights with Beijing are “under negotiation” as China’s Hainan Airlines considers whether to continue with the service beyond October.

A source from the airline, speaking to Daily Business, confirmed recent speculation that it is reviewing the four times a week service, which includes two via Dublin.

‘It is under negotiation. We are looking at whether to fly during the winter or whether to bring in a partner,” he said, “Winter is challenging and [passenger numbers] will go down.”

He said bookings were being taken until October and the intention would be to resume next summer. Planes would be 80% full during July and August, but numbers are expected to decline sharply in the winter. It is thought the airline expects visitors from China to tail off significantly at the end of the Festival.

In June last year, Edinburgh Airport chief executive Gordon Dewar described the arrival of Hainan Airlines as a “momentous day.”

A total of 1,381,187 passengers travelled through Edinburgh Airport last month making it the busiest May on record. The airport has seen the international market rise by 4.6% year on year as a result of new routes and increased frequencies on existing routes.

Chinese performer

A performer playing a traditional erhu instrument in Festival Square, Edinburgh yesterday (pic: Terry Murden)


 

Apart from Hainan, there was a new route to Boston operated by Delta which also increased its New York service; in December Lufthansa started a new route to Munich; and in October Emirates launched a new daily service to Dubai. Ryanair and Loganair also launched new flights to Europe.

The talks over Hainan’s flights came as Beijing Municipal Culture and Tourism Bureau spent the day in Edinburgh’s Festival Square showcasing the Chinese capital’s links with Scotland’s capital.

The Beijing Tourist Office promoted Beijing’s scenic sights to Edinburgh via a photographic exhibition and a colourful ‘Dragon Dance’ display, a Beijing Opera costumes show, a virtual reality show and an opportunity to taste traditional Chinese cuisine. 



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