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Hainan Airlines plans strong international expansion from Hainan

Hainan Airlines plans to launch more than 40 international routes out of Hainan over the next five years, following China’s new policy to build the island as a free trade port.

Earlier this month, Beijing also announced a 30-day visa-free policy for citizens from 59 countries into Hainan, to be effective from 1 May.

The Haikou-based carrier plans to raise the number of international services out of the province to 58 in three phases, and to drive inbound tourist numbers to 2 million.

The target is to build Haikou as a gateway for services to Japan and Korea, as well as Southeast Asia, building the inbound traffic for connections onto Europe and the USA. It will also tap on the potential of Sanya, launching new routes to key cities in Southeast Asia.

Haikou and Sanya are the two main gateways into Hainan Island. Hainan Airlines’ parent HNA Group owns three airports in Hainan: Haikou Meilan, Sanya Phoenix, and Qionghai Bo’ao.

As part of its overall plans, Hainan Airlines plans to launch 100 new international routes over the next three to five years.

FlightGlobal schedules data shows that the only direct international services out of Haikou at current, are to Southeast Asia and Sydney. The majority of its services are still domestic. Besides services to Southeast Asia, Sanya is also connected to several points in Russia.

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