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Photo: Juneyao Airlines

Another Chinese airline targets Nordics

China’s Juneyao Airlines will open its first intercontinental route from Shanghai, to an airport in northern Europe.

China’s airlines have begun a significant expansion in Europe, and also its northern capitals. Now a lesser-known carrier from the east is heading to the region.

Already this year, Air China has opened a route from Beijing to Copenhagen, while Sichuan Airlines will fly between Chengdu and Copenhagen from mid-December.

Earlier this year, China Eastern Airlines opened a seasonal route from Shanghai to Stockholm, and next year Oslo will get its first China route when Hainan Airlines starts a route from Beijing.

Next in line, Shanghai-based Juneyao Airlines will be flying from Shanghai Pudong next June direct to Helsinki, Air Transport World reports on the basis of information provided by the Chinese civil aviation authority CAAC.

It will be the first intercontinental route for the carrier, which has so far only focussed only on short-haul and mid-range flights.

On October 19, it was delivered the first of five Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, and it is this aircraft type that will be opening up the airline’s horizons.

Finnish competition
However, on the new Helsinki route, Juneyao, a connecting partner in the Star Alliance, is in direct competition with oneworld member Finnair, which flies daily to Shanghai with an Airbus A350.

As the Finnish market is not big enough to carry the route, it will be necessary for the Chinese carrier to establish codeshare agreements with an airline that can supply feed traffic to and from Helsinki. Here, SAS may be an option, Check-in.dk speculates.

Juneyao Airlines is one of China’s largest private airlines, established in 2005 and starting operations the following year. It is dependent on China Eastern’s strategy, as this Chinese giant is also based in Shanghai. Until now, the SkyTeam member has not shown interest in Helsinki, instead choosing Stockholm as its first destination in the Nordic region.

On the other hand, Juneyao has big plans to develop Nanjing, located 270 kilometres from Shanghai. A deal was signed with the city council there several years ago to establish a long-distance base at Nanjing Lukou International Airport, where the competitive pressure will be smaller.

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