First Chinese Airline Launches Iceland Flights

Filed Under: Other Airlines

Chinese airlines have been growing like crazy in the past few years, and have been adding all kinds of routes. In many ways it’s surprising that no Chinese airline has flown to Iceland yet, though there have been rumors for a while of that changing… and now it’s official.

Juneyao Airlines has announced that they’ll begin flying from Shanghai to Keflavik 2x weekly, via Helsinki.

Juneyao Airlines Already Flies To Helsinki

Juneyao Airlines is a Star Alliance Connecting Partner, and is an airline with a total of 10 Boeing 787-9s on order.

Juneyao 787-9s

The airline only began long haul operations as of this year, as the 787 is their first wide body plane. This past summer the airline began flying from Shanghai to both Helsinki and Athens.

In the coming summer season, Juneyao Airlines will operate their Helsinki route on a daily basis, with the following schedule (roughly):

HO1609 Shanghai to Helsinki departing 12:55AM arriving 6:00AM
HO1610 Helsinki to Shanghai departing 4:30PM arriving 6:30AM (+1 day)

Juneyao Airlines Adding Flights To Keflavik, Dublin, and Manchester

Juneyao Airlines is getting creative with their Helsinki flight, as they’re essentially launching flights to an additional three destinations as of March 31, 2020. While Juneyao Airlines will maintain their Helsinki service, they’ll add tag flights from Helsinki to the following destinations while the plane would otherwise just sit on the ground:

  • Dublin, Ireland, 2x per week (on Sundays and Thursdays)
  • Keflavik, Iceland, 2x per week (on Tuesdays and Saturdays)
  • Manchester, United Kingdom, 3x per week (on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays —  I wrote about this announcement last week)

Both Dublin and Manchester already have service from Chinese airlines, so it’s the Iceland link that I find the most interesting here. It’s my understanding that Juneyao Airlines should also have fifth freedom rights on all of these flights, meaning you can book Juneyao exclusively from Helsinki to Dublin, Keflavik, or Manchester.

One thing is for sure — Juneyao’s 787 business class will be the best business class product available to Iceland, period.

Juneyao 787-9 business class

Bottom Line

While Juneyao is perhaps taking an unconventional approach to their growth, I sort of love that they’re expanding their Helsinki route to three further destinations. Starting next spring you’ll be able to connect onwards to Dublin, Keflavik, and Manchester.

I always found Helsinki to be an interesting choice as their first European market, given that they’re affiliated with the Star Alliance. But with these tag flights, it all makes a lot more sense. Helsinki presumably has lower costs than other major European airports, it has a geographical advantage, and tourism in Northern Europe is becoming increasingly popular among Chinese visitors.

I’m probably most excited about the new fifth freedom opportunities here, as flying Juneyao to Iceland seems like an unbeatable way to get there from continental Europe.

What do you make of Juneyao’s expansion?

  1. Ben. This looks great. I’ve done the “ reindeer route” via Helsinki , MAN to BNE and that J product looks excellent

  2. I’m pessimistic and don’t think this will work out for them. HEL may be cheap but without partner feed and being in the wrong alliance for most local frequent fliers (same goes for MAN and DUB) this will be very tough. And if most customers stay on for the final destination they’d be better off not having the HEL stop. Let’s see how this unfolds for them.

  3. Another destination ruined by over-tourism. Say goodbye to visiting Iceland now. Hotel prices will go through the roof and the crowds will ruin this once desirable place.

  4. For 5th freedom destinations, indeed only the Iceland flight is of much interest. For tourism Dublin also makes sense. I’m mostly surprised that Manchester is the 3rd destination rather than a smaller-but-still-tourist-friendly airport in continental Europe instead (ie Dusseldorf, Innsbruck, Warsaw, or Nice)

  5. Well, this sure is interesting. Juneyao will create a mini-hub in Helsinki, with flights to four destinations and with 5th freedom tag flight schedules that nicely fit in with the Finnair bank system, too. Finnair already codeshares on the PVG flights. Perhaps they will codeshare on the tag flights as well?

    It remains to be seen whether Juneyao will market these tag flights here in Finland. They enable a nice weekend break in Dublin, for instance. Here’s to hoping that they’ll offer reasonable prices in J!

    @Julian, I suppose most tickets on these Chinese carriers will be bought in bulk by tour operators. The Chinese travel to Europe on those same tours that Americans used to take back in the 70s – if it’s Tuesday, this must be Rome. Thus, they don’t need to rely on intra-alliance conncetions as the tour operators put together the schedule and flights. And Juneyao does have codeshare connections ex-HEL on Finnair.

  6. It looks like they are expanding just for the sake of expanding. China is relaxing the one airline per route rule with the new Beijing airport. It looks like Juneyao will be the only Chinese carrier flying to KEF and HEL.
    They might even start LIS and be the only Chinese carrier.

  7. I need to fly KEF-HEL in August, this would be a great use of my UA miles. This works out perfectly…assuming the day I need is one of the 2 days they will fly this.

  8. Chinese Airlines are the Amazon of Airlines – bombard the market with huge volume and relatively cheap product/s until the competition gets knocked out AND then be the monopoly.

  9. OK, amother place sI should avoid visiting…

    I was just in Bali on the island of Nusa Penida. Saw a Chinese tourist sneeze into a tissue and conveniently threw it into the reef. When I reminded her not to do that (I speak Chinese), she and her friend laughed it off.

    I understand Chinese tourists are not the only ones who pollute and only a small percentage of them does it. However, when you have 1.4 billion people, that small percentage makes quite a big number.

  10. Did some digging.

    HEL-DUB-HEL will be on Sundays and Thursdays
    HEL-KEF-HEL will be on Tuesdays and Saturdays
    HEL-MAN-HEL will be Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays.

  11. @jon Manchester has a huge catchment area

    Remember it was the home of the industrial revolution Local economy contributes over £42 billion to the UK

    Major universities, petrochemical , cultural institutions, top music schools, Close to Yorkshire , Lake District, Liverpool etc

  12. Are these flights earning miles on *A airlines and redeemable using one of the *A programs?

    It is still unclear to me on how *A connecting partners work.

  13. Manchester – this will draw throngs of Chinese football (soccer) fans. The Chinese, and Asians in general, are over-the-moon for any kind of brand name that has some whiff of greatness associated with it. Say “Manchester United” and they will come, in droves and droves. I have relatives who fly form SE Asia to the UK just so they can say they’ve seen Man U play, and come home with branded bling. This will draw huge numbers of Chinese tourists to England.

    This will also mark a sea change for tourist numbers in both Iceland and Ireland. In 2 years, Galway and Dingle streets are going to be shoulder-to-shoulder with tour groups (as if they weren’t already crowded).

    Enjoy those places quickly, folks, they’re about to explode with selfie-stick-waving crowds like you’ve never seen before.

  14. I hate to sound misanthropic but the appeal of these destinations is absolutely destroyed for me (and many others I suspect) by the prospect of them being bombarded by millions of Chinese tourists. I actually base my leisure travel these days on destinations that haven’t been ruined by the Chinese. The list is getting shorter and shorter.

  15. Adding “roughly” to the schedule indication means you’re afraid of being taken to court by a reader who buys/flies strictly based on your indicated timings? 🙂

  16. Isn’t Helsinki to Keflavik intra-Schengen? So connecting passengers need to clear immigration at Helsinki To Keflavik but not the other way around?

  17. @ Charles It is not only bombardment with tourists. The influx also brings full parallel infrastructure set-up: souvenir shops, local specialties, tour guides, food – all this will be done by Chinese for Chinese. Local economy will get a fraction of the revenue stream.

  18. I’m amused by the sinophobia even in a travel blog. Ya know it’s kind of difficult for Chinese tourists to destroy anything nowadays given most “popular” places have already been destroyed by the American saints …

    That aside, if 2 flights per week (translating to probably 400 more visitors, also assuming otherwise they are too stupid to find other ways to fly to Iceland) will destroy your holy Iceland experience, so be it.

    Grow up, guys.

  19. @Charles Unfortunately your list will get even shorter, I suggest you visit Mars for leisure soon before the Chinese builds infrastructure on it.

  20. Chinese tourists everywhere, Americans in Europe, Americans and Australians in SE Asia, and Arabs in Indonesia. Tons of trash tourists out there.

  21. @Natasha Juneyao opened daily service to HEL last summer already, flying now in winter 3x weekly. There’s also Sichuan Airliens flying CTU-HEL-CPH 3x weekly and Tibet Airliens have an once a week summer service TNA-HEL.

  22. @ Sir Fly a lot
    I’m amazed a tissue was used as my experience is that all who are in close vicinity tend to wear the spray.

  23. @Mike, the current HEL-CPH-HEL 5th freedom flight has everyone deplane at HEL in both directions. Coming from China, pax continuing to CPH go through security at HEL. In the other direction, no security. Passport control is at CPH both ways.

    Pax who start their journey in HEL and only fly to CPH will need to go through passport control at HEL and CPH despite intra-Schengen.

  24. “Misanthropic” is quite an interesting way of saying “I’m not racist, but…” I don’t think I’ve heard that one before. Neat.

    As has been rightly noted, to suggest that two weekly flights from China on a 787 tip is what is going to tip Iceland over the edge into chaos is nonsense. Reykjavik and southwestern Iceland has been an absolute mess over the last decade and we can thank our fellow European and North American friends for that.

    Yes, there are etiquette issues with Chinese tourists given the vast cultural differences and day-to-day way of living in China versus many other parts of the world (particularly Western). Rules that require Chinese travellers to join organised tours does indeed lead to the tour-bus-clumping phenomenon. While we’re stereotyping, Americans scream-talk everything they say, everywhere they go. If we’re to assess by their tourists, one could reasonably assume that Brits and Australians are always drunk, all the time.

  25. We see this same problem with Chinese in Budapest. They have bought up most of the best districts and Airbnb kills life for the regular Magyar. As someone who was in HEL monthly I loved the peace and quiet and now it’s become another noisy Chinese trash can. When I see HU on the edge of bankruptcy and CX stock at a 1 year low … makes one think. I’m also avoiding places with too many Chinese tourists.

  26. ^ Amazing that you manage to offend not only the Chinese but the Finns as well with your racism by calling our capital city a “Chinese trash can.”

    As a Finn, I would much rather a somehow step into my personal space to take a photo than perpetuate these dangerous views. It is absolutely fascinating that so many Europeans are so transparently and unapologetically racist as they bemoan the “impoliteness” and “noisiness” of people from other countries. The lack of self-awareness is astounding.

    If your local or national government is too broken and corrupt to impose regulations for the purchase of property by foreigners or renting by airBNB as many other cities and countries have successfully done, perhaps the Hungarian people ought to take responsibility to fix that problem yourselves rather than scapegoating one of the largest drivers of your economy. The simple fact is, your government earns too much in tax revenue and GDP growth to care about “the regular Magyar.” Who’s fault is that?

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