Juneyao Air, a Chinese airline based in Shanghai, will start serving Manchester from next spring as part of its European expansion.
Rather than serving the British city non-stop, it will extend some of its existing flights from Shanghai to Helsinki.
Juneyao Air to Serve Manchester via Helsinki
While Juneyao Air has plans to fly to Athens starting in June 2020, currently, Helsinki (HEL) is its only European (and long-haul overall) destination. It serves the Finnish capital from Shanghai Pudong (PVG) three times a week with the following schedule:
- HO1607 / PVG – HEL / 1:20AM – 5:20AM (Tue, Thu & Sat)
- HO1608 / HEL – PVG / 3:30PM – 6:30AM+1 (Tue, Thu & Sat)
Considering that the airline said the flights will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays – days on which its current Helsinki flight doesn’t operate at this point – Juneyao Air will not only be adding a new destination to its route map but also likely be doubling its capacity to Helsinki as part of its latest move.
That is unless it decides to either change the days on which its current Helsinki flights operate or the days on which it plans to operate the Manchester flights.
The Manchester flights will be operated using Boeing 787-9 – the only wide-body aircraft type in the airline’s fleet. Currently, Juneyao Air has five airframes in its fleet with further five on order. Each of them is equipped with 324 seats including 29 staggered business class seats and 295 economy class seats.
When announcing the new route, Wang Junjin, Juneyao Air’s Chairman is quoted saying:
Juneyao Air is delighted to launch its first fifth-freedom route to Manchester, and we look forward to developing Manchester’s traffic growth in the coming years.
As such, it’s expected that the airline will also have fifth freedom traffic rights on the intra-European Helsinki – Manchester segment.
At this point, Hainan Airlines operates three non-stop flights a week between Beijing and Manchester. As such, Juneyao Air’s new link won’t be the first link between Manchester and China. It will be the first direct connection between Manchester and Shanghai, though.
Manchester is also currently served by Cathay Pacific from Hong Kong and Singapore Airlines from Singapore. Biman Bangladesh is planning to resume service to the airport in January 2020.
On the shorter Helsinki – Manchester route, Juneyao Air will compete with Finnair which offers two daily flights.
Whether Juneyao Air will be able to make money on the route (recently it was reported that Chinese airlines are losing billions of dollars on their international routes), is questionable.
However, it is still nice to see another option becoming available for travel between Asia and Europe.
It is also great to see that the airline will offer fifth freedom flights between Helsinki and Manchester. While the limited frequency will mean the flight won’t be too useful for most travelers, it will give local aviation enthusiasts a chance to try an “exotic” airline without having to go all the way to China.