While the rumors have been around for a while, Juneyao Air officially announced yesterday, November 27, 2019, that it will be launching direct flights to the Irish capital Dublin and the Icelandic capital Reykjavik.
With that, the airline is ready to start three new European routes next March – the two newly announced ones and the Manchester route which it announced earlier this month.
Juneyao Air’s Flights to Dublin and Reykjavik
Just like Juneyao Air’s upcoming Manchester flights, the flights to Dublin and Reykjavik will be operated through Helsinki, the airline’s first and so far only European destination.
With each of the new routes scheduled to operate twice a week, the airline will offer flights to Helsinki every day of the week. The Manchester flights will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays with the two new routes spread across the remaining four days.
The Shanghai (PVG) to Dublin (DUB) route will operate from the end of March 2020 with the following schedule:
- HO1659 / PVG – DUB / 12:55AM – 8:45AM (Thu & Sun)
- HO1660 / DUB – PVG / 10:00AM – 6:30AM+1 (Thu & Sun)
The flights to Reykjavik (KEF) will operate from the end of March as well, with the following schedule:
- HO1661 / PVG – KEF / 00:55AM – 8:10AM (Tue & Sat)
- HO1662 / KEF – PVG / 9:25AM – 7:30AM+1 (Tue & Sat)
While the exact schedules of each of the legs of the two routes have not been announced yet, it is expected that the flights will stop in Helsinki for about 1.5 hours along the way. It’s also expected that Juneyao Air will sell tickets on the fifth freedom flights from Helsinki to Dublin and Reykjavik (and Manchester).
The flights will be operated using the airline’s Boeing 787-9 aircraft equipped with 324 seats including 29 staggered business class seats and 295 economy class seats.
Juneyao Air will be the first airline to offer direct flights between Shanghai and both Dublin and Reykjavik. It will also be the only airline to serve Asia directly out of the two airports. Previously, until recently, Cathay Pacific operated non-stop flights from Hong Kong and Hainan Airlines from Beijing to Dublin.
As for the shorter fifth-freedom flights, Juneyao Air will compete with Finnair on the Helsinki – Dublin route. It will compete with Finnair and Icelandair on the Helsinki – Reykjavik route. With its aircraft configured for long-haul flights, it will offer the best hard product on the route.
In addition to the three new European destinations to be served through Helsinki, Juneyao Air also plans to launch non-stop flights to Athens in June 2020.
Juneyao Air’s European expansion plan is – with four new destinations including Athens, Dublin, Manchester, and Reykjavik – impressive.
The strategy it chose for the three destinations, serving them via Helsinki, is interesting as well.
While it will allow the airline to split the capacity across two destinations, it will also – especially if most passengers will end their journey in Helsinki – have to rely on fifth freedom passengers to fill the plane up for the shorter intra-European sectors.
In addition to that, in the Asia – Europe market, those flights will mainly be convenient for passengers starting or ending their journey in Shanghai or smaller Chinese cities. Passengers from other major Asian destinations have better one-stop options.
As such, I am curious to see how the route will do long-term.