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​ROUTES: Lucky Air to launch Helsinki and St Petersburg flights

Chinese carrier Lucky Air plans to add new European long-haul services to St Petersburg and Helsinki, the next stage in its development after making its intercontinental bow this summer.

The HNA Group carrier launched its first intercontinental service to Moscow in June and has now detailed plans to serve Pulkovo airport in the northern Russian city from Chengdu and Kunming. Services to both will be at least twice-weekly, Lucky says, and will begin this winter season.

The announcement was marked by a signing ceremony at World Routes in Barcelona today.

“China remains one of the fastest-growing flight directions for Pulkovo airport,” says Evgeniy Iliyn, chief commercial officer at Pulkovo St Petersburg. “Chengdu and Kunming are in the list of strategic routes for the St Petersburg airport and will become the fourth and fifth [Chinese mainland] destinations with direct scheduled service from the northern capital of Russia.”

Lucky Air will deploy Airbus A330-300s on the services.

The Chinese carrier is also eyeing a January launch of services from the two Chinese cities to the Finnish capital Helsinki. Lucky Air will fly from Kunming to Helsinki via Chengdu. The route will also be served twice-daily with A330s.

While Finnair already serves five Chinese routes from Helsinki, this marks the airport's first Chinese carrier service. “Having the first Chinese airline in Finland supports our goal to develop Helsinki Airport as an important air traffic hub between Europe and Asia," says senior vice president, Joni Sundelin, at Helsinki airport operator, Finavia.

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