Hawaii to welcome several China charters - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii to welcome several China charters

By Howard Dicus - bio | email 

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The first of a series of charter flights will arrive in Honolulu from Beijing on Saturday, the first sign of growing Chinese interest in visiting the islands.

CYTS, one of China's largest tour agencies, hired Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines to provide the service for sold-out charters that will arrive at five-day intervals.

The first one arrives Saturday with 269 vacationers aboard. The next flight will arrive on Friday of next week.

China Eastern is China's second largest airline, and a member of the SkyTeam alliance that also includes Delta, Air France and Korean Air.

A smaller Chinese carrier, Hainan Airlines, won government approvals in 2009 to launch regularly scheduled service from Beijing to Honolulu but has repeatedly delayed launching it.

Sources in Hawaii said Hainan was holding out for significant landing fee waivers that officials could not provide, while sources at the airline said there were tricky negotiations with tour agencies who were cautious about committing to booking blocks of seats.

China is the world's most populous country but the vast majority of its residents travel, when they travel at all, to nations adjacent to their home provinces. Hawaii's visitors from China have typically been travelers making a brief leisure stop on their way back from business or academic trips to the mainland.

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