Juneyao Airlines Launching Flights To Helsinki

Filed Under: Other Airlines

Juneyao Airlines has been on my radar for a while. The airline is a Star Alliance Connecting Partner, and is one of the largest private airlines in China.

Up until recently the airline exclusively operated narrowbody Airbus aircraft on flights within Asia, though the airline is in the process of adding 10 Boeing 787-9 aircraft to their fleet (they already have three in their fleet, with a further seven on the way). This will allow them to expand their route network significantly.

While I didn’t have much interest in Juneyao Airlines when they just operated narrowbody aircraft, I can’t wait to try one of their 787-9s, which have a very nice business class product. The airline has Vantage XL seats in business class on these planes, with beautiful finishes.

Anyway, Juneyao Airlines took delivery of their first Boeing 787 in October 2018, and initially flew it within China. Then just recently the airline started flying the 787 to Singapore, and now the airline will be expanding to Europe.

Juneyao Airlines will begin flying daily between Shanghai and Helsinki as of June 28, 2019. The new flight will operate with the following schedule:

HO1607 Shanghai to Helsinki departing 12:55AM arriving 6:20AM
HO1608 Helsinki to Shanghai departing 2:20PM arriving 4:20AM (+1 day)

This seems like an interesting first longhaul route for an airline to launch:

  • Finnair already operates flights between Shanghai and Helsinki
  • While Helsinki is a great connecting point between Europe and Asia, Juneyao Airlines is a Star Alliance Connecting partner, while Finnair belongs to oneworld, so I doubt the two airlines will have any sort of partnership
  • This route will operate year-round (as of now), though Helsinki seems to me like it would be a highly seasonal market

Nonetheless I’m very excited about this route, and hope to fly Juneyao Airlines on it.

It looks like the cheapest paid business class fare on this route is $2,435 roundtrip, from Helsinki to Shanghai.

One-way fares are outrageously expensive, though if you wanted to fly one-way in business class and one-way in economy, you could do so for $1,853.

In theory it should also possible to redeem select Star Alliance miles on Juneyao Airlines. For example, you can redeem United MileagePlus miles, and they even let you book directly on united.com. Award availability is good, and there seem to be two business class seats available most dates.

In theory you should be able to redeem some other Star Alliance miles as well — including Aeroplan miles — though this can be a bit more challenging. For example, with Aeroplan you have to book by phone, and when I called them to try and price out an itinerary, they weren’t able to pull up the flight at all.

So with other Star Alliance programs it seems to be a case of “your mileage may vary,” but this is easy enough to book through United at least.

Anyone considering flying Juneyao Airlines, or love their 787?

Comments
  1. Juneyeowwwwww.

    Do you know if flights operated by Juneyao earn elite qualifying miles? It seems a bit unclear since they’re not a full Star airline.

  2. I don’t think HEL is seasonal at all. Yes, Chinese tourism might boost numbers a bit, but I think this route is more driven by techies. Many tech companies based in Helsinki

  3. They should struck a partnership with Norwegian.

    On the leisure side, they may do better in the winter than summer because Finland is considered a good winter destination by the Chinese. Given the spat China had with Sweden and Canada, I would not be surprised if Finland picks up a lot more winter tourists from China in comparison to previous years.

  4. @ah
    Only US-bound routes are subject to those restrictions. PVG-FRA is served by both Air China and China Eastern

  5. Ben

    A lot of FinnAir’s flights out of HEL are seasonal. Those Finns visit some places to escape their horrible winter, but very different places in their (almost as unpleasant hot humid, fly-infested) summers.

    That said, HEL is a great place to transfer between Europe and Asia. My favourite FinnAir flight is from HEL to FUK 🙂

  6. Juneyao must be like the fourth or fifth Chinese carrier to announce flights to HEL, and might very well be the first that actually starts flying. The schedule, however, is terrible. I wonder if there’s something behind it, like an intention to add a tag flight, pending 5th freedom approval perhaps, to some nearby destination like ARN, CPH or TXL, all popular among Chinese tour groups.

    Finnair would very much like a second slot to PVG in the summer, but so far it hasn’t been possible. Finnair also codeshares with many, even most, carriers that fly to HEL, including TAP, which is a Star Alliance member. So it could very well be that a codeshare agreement will take place here.

  7. @ah

    The one route/one airline rule only applies to Chinese airlines (government owned and private), so it does not affect Finnair. Frankfurt is an one-off outlier.

    Actually, the policy was supposed to ease up last October in preparation of the soon to be completed new airport outside of Beijing. The Chinese government wants the new Daxing airport to be the greatest thing ever so that old policy would hinder the spectacle. The first phase of the new rule is to lessen the restrictions on flights to Australia, Thailand, and the US, since these have open skies agreement with China and are the most visited countries for the Chinese population. This means we will soon see the already insanely cheap coach tickets from US hubs to China (especially Beijing/Daxing) to be even lower.

    @Ben Holz

    There is really no reasoning behind any route a chinese airline decides to operate. It’s all about beating my competitor to something first (whether it is meaningful/practical/logical or not), so I can have “face” and glow about it. The mantra is to “do first, think later”.

    Since this is a thread about China, I here wish all my fellow Chinese comrades a happy new year of the pig. 新年快乐,万事如意~

  8. @ Willem @ Daniel from Finland

    The schedule is actually very normal. Many long route flights depart east Asia around midnight so the passengers can sleep based on their normal routine. The same can be said for arriving in Shanghai. It is the norm for long routes to arrive in the morning between 4 and 6, I see a bunch of flights come in every time I arrive into Beijing/Shanghai/Hong Kong/Taipei in the early mornings. It is more convenient for people to get home/office right before the rush hours begin. It is appreciated because traffic in Shanghai is CRAZY~

  9. Actually the schedule indicates cooperation with Finnair. The flights arrive in Helsinki before the morning departures from Helsinki to all European destinations. And the return from Helsinki to Shanghai in the afternoon is departing at the same time as Finnair’s North American flights so there are plenty of connections from atleast Northern Europe to feed the flight with transfer pax.

  10. I can only imagine how long those flights are. I’m confident the frequent flyer miles and rewards points programs for that kind of travel to Helsinki is very good to customers.

  11. Actually Finnair and Juneyao signed some sort of an MoU in November regarding this route. So far no further details of the co-operation have been announced, I would expect more info in the following months.

  12. The cabin looks great, and for me the Vantage XL seat is really one of the best in the market (better than reverse heringbone if you can get a real window seat).

  13. Looking forward to my SIN-PVG Juneyao flight at the end of this month in the new business class! Not looking forward to the 3:40am arrival time, however.

  14. The hard product actually looks really good and very sophisticated in the finishing for a Chinese airline! Kickass livery too! Wow never thought I’d say that about a Chinese airline…

  15. Juneyao is a pretty cheap carrier and mnay Chinese mistake them as some kind of LCC. They act pretty much like Aer Lingus/airberlin.
    Would pay extra to avoid.

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