Hainan Airlines, a popular Chinese carrier, has just received federal approval in both the United States and China to offer a nonstop flight from Boston to Beijing. The first flight will start in June 2014. It should provide a huge boost in traffic for Logan International Airport in Boston. It should also help to further strengthen the economic ties between the United States and China.
To start with, Hainan Airlines will offer four flights a week. Depending on how popular this route is, the carrier may start offering more flights per week moving forward. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the agency just approved this new route last week.
Before Hainan Airlines can start flying this route, however, it will be forced to sign a new agreement with the operator of the Logan International Airport, the Massachusetts Port Authority. For now, the port authority in Massachusetts has refused to comment on this matter. However, this is pretty standard as it does not comment on “deals” in the making.
The Massachusetts Port Authority has been trying to attract new airlines. The hope is that this will increase the amount of nonstop flights that are available at this airport. They are also hoping that they will get more routes from Boston to Asia and the Middle East. This new route to Beijing is an example of that.
This is not the first push that Logon International Airport has made to try and include more Asian airlines. In fact, just last year it added a nonstop service to Tokyo run by Japan Airlines. It also announced that nonstop flights between Istanbul and Boston are now available at the airport. These became available as of May.
Despite all of these routes, businesses in Boston have been pushing for direct flights to China for the past few years. They know that China is one of the largest foreign markets to do business with. Having a direct flight to China is great for businesses. Reports from Massachusetts showed that businesses in this area were able to sell more than $1.9 billion in merchandise to China during 2012. This is a number that they hope will increase in 2014 with the opening of this route.
Massachusetts as a whole has seen a growing number of Chinese visitors, who go to the state for pleasure as well. This is a great way for Massachusetts to increase its annual income. These Chinese visitors are coming to visit historical sites and to take advantage of shopping opportunities. Just last year, nearly 150,000 Chinese tourists visited the state. That is a nice 8 percent increase from 2011, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. The only other areas that had more tourists visit were the UK and Canada. Massachusetts believes that China may be able to pass Canada and the UK with this new direct flight. This goes double if Hainan Airlines gets enough support on this route to fly it every day.