The Silk Road between Massachusetts and China is becoming more widely traveled, as officials unveiled a new direct route air service between Boston and Shanghai on Hainan Airlines. The service begins on June 20, 2015, a year to the day that Hainan launched its Boston-Beijing direct route.
Officials said the fledgling Boston-Beijing route was so successful that an expansion to Shanghai made sense.
The announcement was made on Wednesday, February 18 at the Massachusetts State House, where Governor Charlie Baker joined Pubin Liang, managing director of Hainan Airways for North America, Thomas P. Glynn, CEO and President of Massport and other public officials and business leaders.
In a news release, Governor Baker said the initiative to expand international flights out of Boston’s Logan International Airport “enables Massachusetts to engage with the rest of the world. To be world class you need to be connected with the world and Massachusetts is world class. ‘’
Liang called Shanghai “an important commercial city,” noting that “expanding trade between New England and China has grown this market exponentially, enhanced by the new reciprocal ten year visas between the two countries recently put into place.”
Glynn said the new route “speaks volumes about the great success Hainan has had in Boston since starting nonstop service to Beijing last June. ’’ He praised “the business community and Massport’s Asia Task Force for their support in making Hainan’s Boston venture such a success.’’
Kristen Rupert, executive director of Associated Industries of Massachusetts, told the gathering that for her 5,000 members, comprised of both service and manufacturing companies, “It really makes a difference to meet your prospects and your clients face-to-face” and that the Boston-Shanghai direct route was atop the wish list of AIM members.
Service to Shanghai Pudong Airport will start on June 20, 2015 with two-class Boeing 787 Dreamliners three days a week, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, with afternoon times. The flight from Pudong to Boston’s Logan Airport leaves in the morning, also on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The plane holds 222 passengers, including 34 business class seats. Connections with Hainan’s airline partners, including JetBlue in its Boston hub, allow travelers to connect to and from the new service from points throughout the U.S. and Canada.
The new Boston-Shanghai route complements Hainan’s existing nonstop Boston-Beijing service, which will increase to daily flights on May 1, 2015.
In 2013, international travel in Massachusetts increased by 12%, totaling over two million foreign visitors, according to the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism. In addition to the Shanghai, Logan Airport is starting new international routes to Port-au-Prince, Hong Kong, Mexico City and Tel Aviv in 2015.