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Hainan Airlines eyeing US expansion this year

Leading Chinese carrier Hainan Airlines wants to expand its network in the United States. The airline is looking forward to launching two new routes sometime this year. A spokesperson of Hainan Airlines said that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has already been approached on the matter. The airline has applied seeking approval to launch flights from Chongqing to Los Angeles and New York JFK.

Media reports said that Hainan Airlines wants to launch flights to Los Angeles from Chongqing during the first quarter of 2017, while it is aiming to launch Chongqing-New York JFK route during the second quarter of this year. The airline is planning to serve both the routes with 8-times or 9-times flights every month with the help of a Boeing 787 aircraft.

According to the reports, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has approved the two routes. China’s national carrier Air China seems to have left behind in the race. The airline had sought approval from CAAC for launching flights between Chongqing and Los Angeles but seems to have been left behind in the race as it has failed to gain the approval from the country’s civil aviation regulator. According to the rules only one Chinese airline is allowed to operate one international route in China.

The outbound passenger travel to the United States is rapidly growing in China. The Chinese carriers therefore want to either launch new routes or increase frequencies to the United States. It may be noted that Hainan Airlines had in December 2016 applied to DOT for launching twice weekly flights between Los Angeles and Chengdu in Q1 2017 and thrice weekly service on Chengdu-New York JFK route in Q2 2017. Both the routes are to be served utilizing Boeing 787 aircraft.

The relaxation of new visa regulations for travel between the United States and China in November 2014 had increased the prospects of increased China-U.S. travel by the people from either country. Travel experts have however said that the Chinese carriers operating between the two countries are facing heightened overcapacity problems, thus making its difficult to earn profits.

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