“China is a tremendous market for our tourism economy and this new route will provide greater ease of access to our Hawaiian Islands,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the HTA, in a written release. “The process to obtain a U.S. visa in China has also improved, which will support our efforts to grow this expansive market.”
The flight will operate three times a week arriving in Honolulu on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The HTA estimates the flight will provide $80.4 million in visitor spending and $8.6 million in state tax revenue annually.
“As a major airline in China and a member of the Star Alliance, Air China has always been committed to providing our passengers with convenient, high quality service,” said Wang Mingyuan, vice president of Air China, in a written release. “One of our goals is to create an internationally competitive network and this newly launched Beijing to Honolulu direct route is in line with our strategies. We hope that our extensive network of routes and convenient, quality flight experience will drive more visitors from around the world to the Hawaiian Islands.”
During the first 11 months of 2013, Hawaii welcomed more than 123,000 visitors from China. This year, the HTA projects reaching 182,000 visitors, an increase of 21.5 percent. The China market is the highest spending visitor market with an average of $392 per person per day spending.
“Diversification of our tourism profile for the long-term sustainability of Hawaii’s visitor industry is an important goal in 2014 and we will continue to work with our airline, industry and marketing partners to drive international demand,” said McCartney.
Air China is China’s only national flag carrier and a member of the world’s largest airline network - Star Alliance. By October 2013, Air China had a fleet of 488 passenger aircrafts and freighters of mainly Boeing and Airbus families.