Hainan Airlines has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with Brussels Airport at the signing ceremony for the China-Belgium Economic and Trade Cooperation, launching a new Shanghai-Brussels flight service, scheduled to commence in 2017, the company said.
In 2006, Hainan Airlines launched Beijing-Brussels service, creating an air bridge for friendly exchanges between China and Brussels, headquarters for the vast majority of the European Union´s institutions. In 2015, 114,000 passengers took the flight, an increase nearing five times the number that flew the route during its first year of service.
The letter was signed in the presence of Chinese premier Li Keqiang and Belgian prime minister Charles Michel. Hainan said the airline is committed to supporting China´s One Belt, One Road initiative, the Chinese government´s program to develop trade through and with the countries that lie along the ancient Silk Road overland and seaborne trade routes.
Hainan Airlines now operates eight European routes, including the Beijing-Brussels, Beijing-Berlin, Beijing-Moscow, Beijing-Saint Petersburg, Hangzhou-Xi´an-Paris, Chongqing-Rome, Beijing-Prague and Beijing- Manchester routes. By the end of 2015, Hainan Airlines´ passenger loads to and from European destinations accounted for over 30 percent of the international total. In 2015, the company increased its capacity servicing Europe by 41 percent from the prior year.