Finland’s flag carrier Finnair recently announced that it will be introducing a direct route to Chongqing in China in May 2012. The opening of the new route to the largest and fastest-growing city in China is part of Finnair’s strategy to expand its network in Asia.
Finnair will become the first airline to introduce a direct flight route to Chongqing from Europe.
The airline said in a statement that its aim is to benefit immensely from the fast growing Asian market. It will also consider opening up new routes where it feels that the growth is strongest.
Business travel is currently booming in this key Chinese city, which is situated on the edge of the Tibetan plateau. Besides the Chinese companies, there are many Western companies that are expanding their operations in the city, particularly in the automotive, chemical and electronics industries. Keeping in view the growth of industries in the city, cargo growth prospects also hold a great potential.
Mika Vehviläinen, President and CEO of Finnair, said that China is a key part of the airline’s Europe-Asia strategy. He hoped that Western China being a significant growth area, the opening of the new route is likely to strengthen the airline’s market share in the growing Asian markets. Finnair
said that it will be flying to Chongqing four times weekly and will deploy Airbus A340 aircraft on the new route, which will open in May 2012. The flight from Helsinki to Chongqing will take eight and a half hours to reach.
Besides Chongqing, the Finnair is currently operating flight services to 10 other destinations in Asia. In China, the airline operates a total of 26 weekly flights to destinations, such as Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
The Chongqing Airport is currently undergoing expansion and has already opened 140 routes to above 80 cities in China and Asia. The expansion is expected to be completed in 2015, when the airport will be ready to receive 45 million passengers every year.