The United States experienced it in 2016, Australia a year later. Now it’s Europe’s turn to see a boom in capacity on flights from China, according to the latest figures from ForwardKeys, which predicts future travel patterns by analysing 17 million booking transactions a day.
A total of nine new routes and one resumed route will start during the first half of 2018, and a further three are in the pipeline. At least four China-Europe routes are already planned for the second half of this year.
Finland is benefiting from Finnair’s strong Asia strategy, while Spain, the UK and Ireland are seeing a mix of increased tourism alongside healthy Chinese business investment.
ForwardKeys’ statistics show that by June there will be an extra 30 flights a week from China to Europe. Based on an estimation of 200 seats per flight, that means 6,000 more seats will be available for Europe-bound Chinese travellers. Excluding Russia, the average total number of seats available each week last summer was 150,000.
Details of the new routes are:
Confirmed, ‘scheduled-in’ capacity:
•Twice weekly, Shenzhen-Madrid by Hainan Airlines, in Mar 2018
•Three times weekly, Shenyang-Frankfurt by Lufthansa in Mar 2018 (resumed)
•Twice weekly, Shenzhen-Brussels by Hainan Airlines in Mar 2018
•Four times weekly, Beijing-Barcelona by Air China, in Apr 2018
•Twice weekly, Xi An-London, LGW by Tianjin Airlines, in May 2018
•Three times weekly Wuhan-London LHR by China Southern Airlines, in May 2018
•Four times weekly Beijing-Copenhagen by Air China in May 2018
•Three times weekly, Nanjing-Helsinki by Finnair in May 2018
•Three times weekly, Beijing-Helsinki by Beijing Capital Airlines, in Jun 2018
•Four times weekly Shanghai-Stockholm by China Eastern Airlines, in Jun 2018
Hainan Airlines has applied to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) to operate, but has not yet scheduled in capacity for:
•Beijing-Edinburgh-Dublin, twice weekly flights, in June 2018
•Beijing-Dublin-Edinburgh, twice weekly flights, in June 2018
•Changsha-London three times weekly, March 2018
Europe, with a 10 percent market share of the outbound Chinese market, saw a 7.4% increase in Chinese travellers during the recent New Year holiday period in January and February this year, according to ForwardKeys’ findings. Turkey – recovering after terrorist attacks – increased by 108.2%, and Greece by 55.7%, compared to the same period last year.
Travel in the opposite direction is set to increase too. At the present time, flight bookings to China, in the coming six months, from the rest of the world, are 11.8% ahead of where they were at this time last year. The stand-out origin region is the Americas, which is responsible for 25% of travel to China. Bookings from there are currently 24.0% ahead.
ForwardKeys CEO and co-founder, Olivier Jager, said: “It seems that the EU-China Tourism Year is having a positive impact on travel in both directions. The Chinese have been growing in confidence for international travel for some time now and that trend is being reciprocated. Europe clearly has a lot to gain from this increased capacity because the Chinese are ready to spend money on luxury goods while on holiday, providing good opportunities for European retailers.”