In the latest expansion of Sichuan Airlines Intercontinental Services, the carrier will add a stop in Helsinki to its service between Copenhagen and Chengdu, China.
The airline has also increased capacity on a service to Istanbul that originates from Chengdu, its home city and the provincial capital of Sichuan.
Helsinki will be inserted into the twice-weekly Chengdu-Copenhagen service beginning in September, the airline said. The route, which opened in December, is operated by Airbus A330-200s. It depends heavily on Chinese tour groups for traffic, industry sources said.
The Chengdu-Istanbul service, flown three times a week, began in April with A330-200s, which were switched to A350-900s in August.
Sichuan Airlines opened a 3X-weekly route between Chengdu and Rome in June, using A330-200s.
The Italian government agreed in March to participate in China’s Belt & Road economic program, which aims to increase Chinese involvement in foreign economies, especially through infrastructure construction. Chinese tour operators have since increased their promotion of Italy as a destination, industry sources said.
In February, Sichuan Airlines was planning to add New York as a destination, but it appears not to have applied to the Civil Aviation Administration of China to fly there. Hainan Airlines already flies between Chengdu and New York.
In opening long-haul services, Sichuan Airlines is supporting a policy objective of the Sichuan government, which owns 40% of the carrier.
China Southern Airlines owns 39% of Sichuan Airlines, which has a long-haul passenger fleet of six A330-200s, seven A330-300s and four A350-900s, with 10 more on order.