First Regular China Flight Lands in Honolulu
By Sonia Isotov
The Hawai’i Tourism Authority (HTA) welcomed the first regularly-scheduled direct flight from Shanghai, China to Hawai’i at 9:50 a.m. this morning in Honolulu.
Arriving on an Airbus 340-300, passengers were greeted with flower lei, Hawaiian music and hula at a welcome reception at the Honolulu International Airport.
The new China Eastern Airlines route will arrive regularly in Honolulu on Tuesdays and Fridays at 9:50 a.m. HST and depart for Shanghai at 11:50 a.m. HST the same day.
“Since the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding in 2007, the HTA has been aggressively working to secure direct air service from China,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the HTA, in a written statement. “Today’s landmark flight is wonderful news for Hawaii’s tourism economy, and we remain committed to supporting this new route and developing airlift to meet demand.”
The HTA predicts that more than 91,000 visitors from China will arrive in 2011, an increase of 37 percent, due in part to the new regularly-scheduled service and three charter flights China Eastern Airlines flew earlier this year between Jan. 30-Feb.10. The route is estimated to provide up to $60 million in annual visitor expenditures, with the average Chinese visitor spending the most at $368 per person per day, as well as stimulating new job growth in our islands.
Ctrip and U-tour will be offering tour packages that include stays from three to seven nights as well as Chinese visitors itineraries that may include visits to the Polynesian Cultural Center, Pearl Harbor, a circle island tour and optional neighbor island packages.
“Hawaiian holidays have been a dream for many Chinese, and Ctrip is committed to promoting Hawai’i through various vacation packages,” said Dongji Guo, vice president of Ctrip, in a written statement today. “We truly appreciate the support we have received from the Hawai’i government, the HTA and our industry partners here.”
Tieying Fu, deputy general manager of China Eastern Airlines Sales and Marketing Committee added, “The non-stop direct service to Hawai’i launched with Ctrip provides a great convenience to Chinese visitors. We are fully confident in Ctrip’s marketing power and operational professionalism and anticipate more Chinese to take the opportunity to experience the beautiful islands of Hawai’i.”