We’ve seen an incredible amount of growth when it comes to aviation in China, and in particular we’ve seen huge expansion when it comes to longhaul international flights being operated by mainland Chinese carriers.
This has included a lot of routes that may seem “random,” though this is due to China’s aviation policy. Since 2009 China has had a “one route, one Chinese airline policy,” and with this, only one Chinese airline can operate each longhaul route. There are a few markets where there are exceptions (like Shanghai to Frankfurt), but in a vast majority of longhaul markets that policy exists.
Last I heard this policy is being partly scaled back. For countries with at least a partial open skies agreement (including the US), the policy will be abolished completely, while other longhaul destinations will still have some restrictions. However, to my knowledge that still hasn’t fully happened.
So the number of nonstop routes between the US and China has increased greatly, and there’s no airport where that’s more visible than LAX. As of now there are nonstop flights from LAX to over a dozen mainland Chinese city. You can now add yet another destination to that list.
In September I wrote about a new route that Hainan had requested permission to operate, and it’s now official.
As of December 31, 2018, Hainan Airlines will be launching 2x weekly flights between Los Angeles and Xi’an. That’s not a typo — the airline just put the flight on sale, a mere three weeks before it’s due to launch.
The flight will be operated with the following schedule on Mondays and Thursdays in both directions:
HU493 Xi’an to Los Angeles departing 9:10PM arriving 6:10PM
HU494 Los Angeles to Xi’an departing 11:20PM arriving 5:10AM (+2 days)
The flight will cover a distance of 6,826 miles, and is blocked at 13hr eastbound and 13hr50min westbound.
Hainan will be using a Boeing 787-8 for the route, which features their fully flat seats in a 2-2-2 configuration. This is the same product that I flew between Los Angeles and Changsha a few years ago.
Unfortunately this isn’t their new reverse herringbone business class product.
This new flight is now bookable. I don’t see any amazing fares loaded for this year, but in general mainland Chinese carriers have incredibly low fares, so I’d expect that to be the case here as well.
This airline will be Hainan’s fourth destination out of LAX, after Changsha, Chengdu, and Chongqing.
This route signifies the 14th nonstop flight between LAX and mainland China, as we have the following destinations from Chinese carriers:
- Air China — Beijing, Shenzhen
- China Eastern — Nanjing, Shanghai
- China Southern — Guangzhou, Shenyang
- Hainan Airlines — Changsha, Chengdu, Chongqing, Xi’an
- Sichuan Airlines — Hangzhou, Jinan
- Xiamen Air — Qingdao, Xiamen
What do you make of Hainan’s new route between LAX and Xi’an?
(Tip of the hat to @airlineroute)