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Hainan Airlines: More direct flights to Belt and Road countries

By ZHU WENQIAN | | Updated: 2017-12-11 17:26

Hainan Airlines, China's largest private airline, said it plans to launch more direct flights to the countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, and to further expand cooperation with overseas tourism groups, hotels and in-flight catering providers.

Currently, the company operates more than 70 flights that connect China and the countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative. The carrier has extended its flight service from Beijing to Prague, the Czech Republic to Belgrade, Serbia, and it serves as the only Chinese airline operating on that route.

"We plan to launch more flights between China and the countries and regions related to the Belt and Road Initiative, especially those flights where Hainan Airlines may become the sole Chinese carrier," said Zhu Tao, deputy innovation officer at HNA Tourism Group.

"The Chinese government has been supporting the Belt and Road Initiative, and we will expand our investments accordingly. For those overseas projects the government doesn't support, we will definitely not proceed with them."

Zhu added that mergers and acquisitions abroad that the Chinese conglomerate HNA Group carried out have aimed to improve its upstream and downstream industry chains, and create a good synergistic effect. The company is not going to expand to any sectors that it is not familiar with, he said.

HNA Group has expanded rapidly into the US and European markets, taking large stakes in world-renowned companies such as Hilton Hotels & Resorts and Deutsche Bank.

Meanwhile, the company is accelerating its growth domestically. HNA Tourism Group, a subsidiary under HNA Group, has collaborated with local governments to establish local tourism groups. It has helped to integrate advantageous local resources and help to drive the growth of local economies.

So far, it has established five local tourism groups together with the governments of Hainan, Shanxi and Shaanxi provinces, as well as the cities of Guilin and Fuzhou, and those groups have seen favorable performance in sales.

"We plan to set up more local tourism groups, and we are now in discussions with a few provinces. A number of local governments are bullish on the growth potential to cooperate with us, as they are confident in the consumption potential in the aviation and tourism sectors," Zhu said.

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