Tianjin Airlines Wants To Launch Flights To Los Angeles This Year

Filed Under: Other Airlines

The demand for air travel from China has been through the roof lately, in particular for longhaul travel. So we’ve seen Chinese airlines add an endless number of flights, and that’s great news for consumers. In many ways they’re capacity dumping, and that’s why $500-600 roundtrip tickets between the US and Asia seem to be the new normal.

One of the reasons we’ve seen this overnight growth is because historically China has had a “One Route, One Chinese Airline” policy. Under this rule, only one Chinese airline can operate each longhaul route. There are a few exceptions, but in a vast majority of longhaul markets that policy exists. This policy generally encourages airlines to start routes a bit prematurely so they can “claim” them. Apparently the country is thinking of abolishing the rule, but it hasn’t happened yet.

There’s no US airport where this growth from Chinese airlines is more evident than LAX. There are now nonstop flights from LAX to a dozen cities in China. Here’s a map showing the nonstop flights to China out of LAX as of now:

It looks like before the end of the year LAX could get their 13th and 14th routes to China, thanks to an airline that doesn’t presently fly to the US. As noted by @airlineroute, Tianjin Airlines has filed with China’s CAAC to request 6x weekly flights to Los Angeles — 3x weekly flights from Xi’an, and 3x weekly flights from Zhengzhou. The routes would launch in December 2018, and would be operated using A330 and A350 aircraft. We’ll have to wait and see if that timeline sticks, though that seems like a lot of notice.

For those of you not familiar with Tianjin Airlines, they used to primarily operate domestic flights, though recently added longhaul flights as well. They’re owned by HNA Group, the same parent company as Hainan Airlines. Tianjin Airlines presently has a longhaul fleet consisting of four A330s, though they plan on taking delivery of more A330s as well as A350s over the coming years, to help support their longhaul growth.

Best I can tell, Tianjin Airlines has fully flat beds in business class on their A330s, so they should be very similar to what Hainan has on most of their longhaul aircraft. Maybe their A350s will even feature an upgraded business class cabin.


Hainan’s 787 business class

Here’s to hoping Tianjin Airlines follows through on these new routes, as I’m sure they’d have attractive fares. Unfortunately Tianjin doesn’t have any major US airline partners, so these flights wouldn’t be great for earning or redeeming miles.

Has anyone flown with Tianjin Airlines before?

(Featured image courtesy of Papas Dos)

Comments
  1. I flew on them once from Tianjin to Wuhan on an ERJ-195. Food pretty good, service decent also. Not too bad of an airline. They even have tablets with some entertainment on them for everyone. Not many Chinese airlines do something like that.

  2. I flew on them once from Tianjin to Wuhan on an ERJ-195. Food pretty good, service decent also. Not too bad of an airline. They even have tablets with some entertainment on them for everyone. Not many Chinese airlines do something like that. Don’t know what they’re like on a longhaul flight though.

  3. I’ve worked extensively with the Tianjin Airlines team (we took their former ERJ-145s and used their maintenance centers in Xian and Tianjin to train our engineers) and they are a reasonably professional outfit by Chinese standards. Lots of ex-military pilots, so plenty of experience but poor CRM and language skills. They had a new generation of cadets in training in Australia about 5-6 years ago and those were a lot more proficient. I expect the long haul are being crewed by those guys and expats.

  4. The 1 airline 1 rule policy is absolutely ridiculous at this point. Airlines like Hainan (plus their subsidiaries) that don’t really have any true hubs of strength end up squatting on authorities with 2x weekly here and there that hardly delivers values to either customers or shareholders.

  5. Do you think American will ever add another China route? For example DFW to Shenzhen.
    Shenzhen is the sillicon valley of China and the fastest growing city in the world.

    I want to fly Hong Kong Airlines on the A350 from LAX to HKG I have seen roundtrip fares as low as $470.

  6. @Gerard because Hong Kong and Taiwan are special administrative region, so they got separated from “mainland” china though HKG is still on the same land. Moreover, Cathay and Eva already has route from TPE/HKG to LAX/JFK

  7. I flew UA when they operated SFO-XIY and I believe they canceled it due to lack of demand. I wonder if Tianjin can make it work from LAX.

  8. @RF

    Already happening. Hong Kong Airlines is part of the Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, and it just started flying between HKG-LAX (with SFO and JFK starting later this year.)

  9. I flew Tianjin Airlines from Auckland to Chongqing nearly one year ago in Economy watching the route map the whole time, not a bad experience overall.

  10. @Zie

    Off topic of the blog, but, it is very complicated, as Taiwan is NOT a “special administrative region” of the communist “People’s Republic of China” (PRC), aka today’s Mainland China. Taiwan is an independent country despite the so called “One China Policy”. Taiwan’s official name is “Republic of China” (ROC). Today’s Taiwan (ROC) is basically a democratic government that the PRC claims is a renegade providence. In 1912, after the Dynasty dissolved, among a complex mix of rival regional governments, the ROC became the quasi-democratic governing power of then Mainland China. Later a civil war started with the emerging communist PRC. The PRC prevailed in 1949 and chased out the ROC government, aka the Nationalist Government, which then fled to Taiwan. Over simplified version of the history, but, very complicated indeed.

  11. have you flown Hong Kong Airlines? They have cheaper fares than Cathay, was wondering if theyre reliable, nice, not trashy airline

  12. Shenzhen Airlines also provides tablets for first class passengers internationally and domestically. Had two flights with them from Seoul to Shenzhen and Shanghai to Shenzhen. Very good service. Good presentation of the food as the flight attendants bring them out to you rather than using a service cart and it is settled right on a tablecloth. However, the food is all right. I agree with a previous comment. I wish there were more direct flights out of Shenzhen to international destinations long haul like North America or Europe.

  13. From the website:

    “The business class of Tianjin Airlines A330-200 has Zodiac Aura Lite Seat with 2-2-2 configuration,for 18 seats in total. The Seat Pitch is 75 inches (191 cm), and the width is 21 inches (54 cm). It could be turned into a 78-inches (198 cm) length full-flat bed.”

  14. @JFK completely correct except Taiwan is not “basically a democracy” but rather an actual, vibrant, modern and liberal democracy in every possible way. This was not always true, and certainly wasn’t true under Chiang Kai-shek, but is absolutely true today.

  15. @Mak

    Thanks for pointing that out. I agree with you that Taiwan (ROC) has become a true democracy. I was only using the verbiage of “basically a democratic government” due to Taiwan’s past evolution from Chiang Kai-shek’s one-part rule of the KMT (Nationalist Party of China) to a multi-party democracy. I just felt that my off-topic post was already too long to try and define that part of Taiwan’s complicated history.

  16. @Mak

    Thanks for pointing that out. I agree with you that Taiwan (ROC) has become a true democracy. I was only using the verbiage of “basically a democratic government” due to Taiwan’s past evolution from Chiang Kai-shek’s one-party rule of the KMT (Nationalist Party of China) to a multi-party democracy. I just felt that my off-topic post was already too long to try to define that part of Taiwan’s complicated history. Correction from my post above: *one-party rule

  17. @ Justin H – American would not fly to Shenzhen because they currently fly to Hong Kong. Most people, especially Chinese treat The Bay area kind of like people treat New York airports. It would not make sense for them to have a flight to Shenzhen with a flight to Hong Kong in existence because it’s so close and easy to transfer to on land.

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