Chinese tourists will get nonstop flights to Hawaii
Mega Global Airway will offer six charter flights each week starting July 28
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A Beijing-based charter company is planning to begin six weekly nonstop flights to Honolulu this year in what will be the first direct air service between China and Hawaii.
It will offer three flights from Tianjin, tentatively beginning July 28, and the same number from Hangzhou in October.
Mega Global Airway will use Boeing 767 airliners that can carry 220 to 240 passengers on the flights, which will continue on to Las Vegas. It says the first six months already are sold out.
Mega Global's new Hawaii service will come a month after a pact between China and the United States allowing Chinese group leisure travel to the U.S. for the first time.
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In what will mark the first direct air service between China and Hawaii, Beijing-based Mega Global Airway is planning to offer six weekly nonstop charter flights to Honolulu this year, with the first beginning this summer.
Mega Global will offer flights on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from Tianjin, tentatively beginning on July 28, and will offer flights on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from Hangzhou at the beginning of October.
The charter flights, which will continue on to Las Vegas, are sold out for the first two quarters, according to Mega Global President Edmond Xia in an e-mail.
Xia said Mega Global will use Boeing 767-200 ERs and 767-300 ERs that have the capacity of carrying from 220 to 240 passengers. Two planes will be used in Tianjin for the North China operation, and another plane will be based in Hangzhou for the East China operation. Aircraft will rotate between the cities. Although Mega Global's Hawaii service is new, the company offers seasonal passenger and cargo service to other destinations.
Mega Global's Hawaii service will come a month after a memorandum of understanding goes into effect between the China National Tourism Administration and the U.S. Department of Commerce that allows Chinese leisure travelers to travel to the United States in group leisure tours for the first time. The new tourism MOU, which becomes effective June 17, will allow Chinese travel agents to openly advertise and promote group leisure tours to the United States.
"I know Hawaii Tourism Asia has been working for some time in trying to solidify the China service, and we're thrilled with it," said state Tourism Liaison Marsha Wienert.
Wienert said the agreement with China provides the impetus for the charter flights to Hawaii.
"We have said over the last three or four years that the biggest potential for increased tourism to the islands is actually going to come from China," she said. "And with the MOU with China on leisure travel, as well as the hoped-for visa waiver for South Korea, both countries will be very important for us in the islands for tourism as well as other business opportunities."
Some of Mega Global's plans were detailed yesterday in a monthly newsletter issued by Hawaii Tourism Asia, a unit of Aviareps Marketing Garden Ltd. charged with promoting Hawaii throughout Asia except Japan.
Xia cited in his e-mail the recently relaxed visa restriction in being able to start up the Hawaii-China service and said that it will result in "overwhelming tourist demand to many holiday destinations in the U.S."
"There will be over 45 million potential outbound travelers from China in 2008," Xia said. "Many of them have been thinking and considering going to the U.S. The schedule airlines both in the U.S. and China cannot provide enough lift for this growing market."
Mega Global is planning to hold a joint press conference on June 20 in Tianjin with the Tianjin municipal government and Tianjin Binhai International Airport, and will start selling seats after concluding contracts with outbound agencies.
Leading outbound agencies such as CITS, Comfort Travel, BTG, CMIT, CITIC and Shanghai CITS are currently finalizing agreements with Mega Global, the Hawaii Tourism Asia newsletter said.