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Hainan Airlines starting direct flights to Mexico

By Zhu Wenqian | China Daily | Updated: 2018-02-06

Hainan Airlines, China's largest private airline, will launch direct flights between China and Mexico from March 21. It will also become the first Chinese carrier to operate nonstop flights between China and Latin America.

The flight, which will stop at Tijuana, Mexico and arrive at Mexico City, will fly three times a week and be operated with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Tijuana International Airport is located on the border of the United States and Mexico, and it is minutes away from the downtown of San Diego. Through Cross Border Xpress, a new convenient crossing bridge built exclusively for air passengers, visitors can enter the US from Tijuana with its own Customs clearance process.

"The customer flow between Asia and Latin America is relatively small, but has been growing rapidly in recent years, and is expected to rise in the future," said Liu Jichun, vice-president of Hainan Airlines.

"The direct flight between China and Mexico will attract more passengers as it will provide easier connections to Latin America rather than by transferring from Europe or the Middle East. We are bullish on the growth potential of the route," he said.

Annual bilateral traffic between China and Mexico is 200,000 passengers at present and the latter is one of the top destinations among Latin American countries. Hainan Airlines said it has been following the Mexican market since 2011, and the relaxation of Mexican visas to Chinese citizens has also helped in the launch of the new flight.

Meanwhile, Air China has started flights from Beijing to Sao Paulo with a stop in Madrid, Spain. Since April 2017, China Southern Airlines has launched flights from Guangzhou to Mexico City with a stop in Vancouver, Canada.

Du Qiang, deputy general manger of Beijing Capital International Airport Co Ltd, said: "The increasingly prosperous trade between China and Mexico has driven the growth of the aviation market. The new direct route will also help improve the flight network from the Beijing Capital International Airport."

In 2008, Hainan Airlines launched its first direct flight to the United States between Beijing and Seattle. It offers the most direct flights between the two countries, including 12 routes from Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Seattle, San Jose, Chicago, Boston and New York to Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing, Changsha and other Chinese destinations.