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HomeChinaAir Serbia, Hainan brace for record demand as China reopens

Air Serbia, Hainan brace for record demand as China reopens

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Air Serbia and Hainan Airlines are expected to see significant growth in demand for their flights between Belgrade and China after the country announced it was lifting all travel restrictions for both locals and foreigners from January 8 and reopening its borders after three years. The easing of travel rules in China, the last part of the country’s zero-Covid policy, comes as it battles a new wave of infections. Within half an hour of the announcements that China’s borders would reopen, data showed searches in the country for popular destinations had increased ten-fold year-on-year. A cap on the number of daily flights is also being lifted, which will enable both Air Serbia and Hainan Airlines to boost frequencies in the future, while the Chinese carrier will also be able to drop its stop in Dalian on the way from Belgrade to Beijing, which is used as a quarantine point for travellers.

Air Serbia has already had a successful start on its one weekly service to Tianjin. Flights from Belgrade have been sold out weeks in advance. Furthermore, the service has boosted loads on other destinations in the airline’s network, with a notable number of transfer passengers. Foreign airlines flying to Belgrade have also benefited, with a number of carriers seeing an increased number of bookings by Chinese nationals who then continue onto Air Serbia’s Tianjin flight. “Tianjin is one of the biggest cargo hubs in China and also contributes to positive trends of passenger bookings”, Air Serbia’s CEO, Jiri Marek, said last week.

The Serbian carrier has previously noted that once China eases its Covid restrictions, it will increase frequencies to Tianjin and launch operations to Shanghai. The airline’s Airbus A330-200 aircraft currently spends over 24 hours on the ground in Tianjin in order to enable the same crew that operated the outbound flight to work on the inbound service. Mr Marek previously said, “We will continue to closely monitor the status of Covid-19 related restrictions in China and promptly react on new opportunities, once the market access limitations have ended. The ground time that Air Serbia aircraft spend in Tianjin is not optimal and comes as the result of a combination of various Covid-19 restrictions still in place. We will continue to work to improve that in the future, whenever such an option becomes available”.

Source : Exyu Aviation

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