Hainan Airlines to offer Calgary to Beijing flights in June
Privately-owned carrier is China's 4th largest
A Chinese airline plans to offer direct flights between Calgary and Beijing.
The independently-owned Hainan Airlines will begin flying the non-stop route three times per week at the end of June, CBC News has confirmed.
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The airline plans to make an official announcement next month.
Lesley Keyter, a travel agent in Calgary, says the added service could be a smart move for the airline, China's fourth largest.
"These plans were obviously put in place months ago, and we are going through a downtime now in our economy in Alberta, but prior to that — and I'm confident we will get back up on our feet — Alberta's always been seen as a very attractive province in which to do business and draw business from," she said.
Keyter says the airline can also tap an expanding tourist market in China, where the middle class is growing quickly.
"These are people who want to travel and what better place to bring them into than Calgary and the heart of the Rockies rather than losing them to Vancouver," she said.
The airline has a five-star rating from Sky Tracks, which rates aircraft and on-time performance and quality, Keyter said.