Loong Air Enters Japan with Xi’an – Nagoya Route, Plans Services from Hangzhou As Well

Loong Air, a Chinese airline based in Hangzhou, started flights between Xi’an and Nagoya Centrair today, November 7, 2019. Next month, the airline also plans to launch flights to Japan from Hangzhou.

This comes amid reports that Chinese airlines have overtaken South Korean ones in the number of weekly passenger flights to Japan.

Loong Air Enters Japan with Xi'an - Nagoya Route, Plans Services from Hangzhou As Well
Loong Air operates a passenger fleet of A320 and A320neo aircraft. (Credit: Gyrostat, CC BY-SA 4.0)

GJ8035/8036: Xi’an – Nagoya Centrair and Back

Loong Air flights between Xi’an (XIY) and Nagoya Centrair (NGO) will operate daily with the following schedule:

  • GJ8035 / XIY – NGO / 5:55AM – 10:40AM
  • GJ8036 / NGO – XIY / 10:00PM – 2:05AM+1

Airbus A320-200s will be used on the route.

The new route is the first time for the airline to operate scheduled flights to Japan.

However, Loong Air is not the first airline to offer non-stop connections between Xi’an and Nagoya. China Eastern Airlines has already been doing so five times a week using A320 series aircraft.

Loong Air’s Upcoming Hangzhou – Japan Services

According to a press release by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Loong Air has also been granted permission to operate flights to Japan from its Hangzhou base.

The permission covers the following flights in addition to the Nagoya flight already in operation:

  • Hangzhou – Nagoya Centrair
  • Hangzhou – Osaka Kansai

Both of those flights are expected to be operated daily starting from December 2, 2019. The airline plans to use A320-200 aircraft on these routes as well.

While there are no flights between Hangzhou and Nagoya at this point, Hangzhou and Osaka are already well-connected. There are as many as 30 weekly rotations between the two cities operated by both Chinese airlines (Air China, China Eastern, Xiamen Air, and Beijing Capital Airlines) as well as ANA.

The upcoming Hangzhou – Nagoya route might also explain the schedule on the Xi’an – Nagoya route. Currently, the aircraft arriving from Xi’an stay on the ground in Nagoya for more than 11 hours, between 10:40AM and 10:00PM.

Once the Hangzhou route is launched, the airline will likely swap its aircraft in Nagoya – i.e. the aircraft that will come to Nagoya from Xi’an will operate to Hangzhou and the aircraft coming from Hangzhou will operate back to Xi’an.

Theoretically, both of the flights could also be done with a single aircraft operating Xi’an – Nagoya – Hangzhou – Nagoya – Xi’an.

Summary

The demand for flights from China to Japan has been increasing, and the Chinese airlines have been responding to that.

Just a few years back, there weren’t many airlines from the country – other than the majors like Air China and China Eastern – operating into Japan. Now, there are more than a dozen such airlines doing so.

While Kansai airport – served by 14 Chinese airlines with more expected to join over the coming months – is by far the Japanese airport with the most airlines from the country, with 10 Chinese airlines including Loong Air, Nagoya Centrair is not far behind.

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