The number of affluent Chinese tourists and business people visiting Copenhagen will increase substantially next year when Air China opens a non-stop service between Copenhagen and Beijing. SAS already flies to Beijing and will resume non-stop flights to Shanghai in March 2012.
With three non-stop services between Copenhagen and China from next spring, Denmark is becoming an important gateway to the fastest growing economy of the world. In addition, Copenhagen and Denmark will potentially see an increase in incoming Chinese tourists and business people by 55,000 per year, a group with great spending power.
“It is an important part of our strategy in Copenhagen Airport to strengthen our position as European hub. The centre of world growth is currently in China and Asia. It is therefore highly important to Copenhagen Airport and Denmark to offer good connections to this part of the world. Non-stop services generate growth and create new opportunities,” said Thomas Woldbye, CEO of Copenhagen Airports A/S.
Direct to the global centres of growth
Air China launches four weekly frequencies between Copenhagen and Beijing, the capital of China, next spring. The service will be operated using Airbus A330-200s with 226 seats, including 28 business lie-flat seats. Air China is the world’s tenth largest airline - and China’s largest - with 300 routes and over 70 million passengers a year who fly to 185 destinations. Like SAS, Air China is a member of the Star Alliance.
In March next year, SAS will resume non-stop flights to Shanghai with five weekly frequencies. SAS already operates a non-stop service to Beijing. In the opinion of Per Homann Jespersen, who specialises in transportation research at Roskilde University, Denmark, this Chinese breakthrough is important both to Copenhagen Airport and to Denmark.
“Non-stop flights between Copenhagen and the global centres of growth are very important. With good flight connections, Danish companies will be closer to the authorities and companies in the countries we wish to trade and collaborate with. Especially in China, close contacts are very important in order to establish the necessary level of trust that can lead to lasting trading and investment relations,” said Per Homann Jespersen.
The valuable tourism
China’s growing middle and upper class have great spending power, both as tourists and at home. Denmark’s exports to China have doubled since 2006. According to the latest McKinsey report on Chinese consumers, things are going more than well. Consumption has increased by 8.5% this year, and 58% of Chinese consumers expect to have even more money available for consumption next year, McKinsey reports.
Per Homann Jespersen of Roskilde University emphasises that the three non-stop services to China will also strengthen Copenhagen Airport’s position:
“A new non-stop service such as the one between Copenhagen and Beijing will make Copenhagen Airport more attractive as a gateway for travellers to and from destinations all over Europe. The combination of a good reputation among air travellers and a good route network to the economic centres of the world is very promising,” said Per Homann Jensen.
Mr Markus Yan, General Manager Air China Nordics:
”Since we are operating already Stockholm-Beijing , the startup of the route Copenhagen-Beijing will further strengthen our product between Scandinavia and China. With only one stop all passengers can reach over 100 destinations in China and Asia, and this is far more than any other airline can offer,” Mr Markus Yan says.
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