Shalom Life | August 25, 2015

Chinese Airline To Open Tel Aviv - Beijing Line

Move by Hainan Airlines will likely reduce prices for Israelis looking to travel to China

By: Danny Sadeh

Published: November 25th, 2014 in Business » World

Chinese Airline To Open Tel Aviv - Beijing Line

Photo Caption: The Great Wall of China

Photo Credit: Jonathan Miller


Good news for Israelis who dream of seeing the Great Wall and the Forbidden City: The cost of direct flights from China to Israel are expected to fall (although the flight time will likely not be shortened) as Hainan Airlines, China's fourth-largest, plans to open nine long-term international lines, including one from Beijing to Tel Aviv.

The entry of a Chinese company should bring competition to the line, which is currently the exclusive domain of El Al with its three weekly flights to Beijing.

A delegation from Hainan was to arrive in Israel on Monday to promote the new line. They are guests of the Ministry of Tourism, after three years of negotiations on promotion of the line. On Tuesday and Wednesday will meet with company representatives and tourism ministers of transport, as well as aviation and tourism officials.

Today, a return flight to Beijing from Tel Aviv will set you back approximately $ 1,200 on El Al, but opening the line to competition should significantly reduce the cost.

The Chinese airline would be able to fly over Arab countries, thereby reducing the current flight times (9 hours and 45 minutes from Tel Aviv to Beijing and 11 hours and 10 minutes the other way) by two hours. However, it is believed that Israeli security officials will require the Chinese flights to follow the existing El Al path.

Chinese company is also eying flights to London, Manchester, Montreal and destinations in the USA. Media reports in China have noted the increasingly close ties between Israeli and Chinese pharmaceutical and technological industries, and that opening the line will permit competition with El Al.

Former president Shimon Peres in China in 2013. (Photo: GPO)

Former president Shimon Peres in China in 2013. (Photo: GPO)

The subject of a Chinese airline operating flights to Israel was raised a year ago, during visits by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and and then-president Shimon Peres to China.

At the same time, the two countries struck a new aviation agreement, signed by the outgoing head of Israel's Civil Aviation Authority, Giora Romm, and his Chinese counterpart Li Jiaxiang. The agreement stated that either country could operate up to 14 scheduled flights a week and another seven cargo flights.

"We will bring millions of tourists to Israel," declared Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz following the signing of the agreement.

Reprinted with permission from Ynet News

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