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Saturday, 27 September, 2008, 12 : 00 PM [IST]

China Eastern Airlines to increase frequency and open new routes from India

Kunming Tourism hopeful of more inbound traffic from India
China Eastern Airlines, which currently connects two Indian cities, Delhi and Kolkata, with Shanghai, Beijing and Kunming in China is planning to increase its frequency of operations to India from next month. The airline will add one more flight on its Delhi-Shanghai- Beijing route, which currently has a frequency of four flights a week. It will also increase the frequency from three flights a week to daily on the Kolkata-Kunming by the end of next month. Although final clearances are still awaited, the airline sources are hopeful of positive response from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

According to Edward Zhu Xuemin, Chief Representative-India, China Eastern Airlines Kunming as a tourist destination has a long history, as well as a lot to offer in terms of tourism products. “Our Kolkata –Kunming flight offers the shortest connectivity.  It takes hardly two-and-half hours by air.  Kunming also offers excellent connectivity to other destinations in mainland China. We can offer good packages to travellers from Delhi and Kolkata to Kunming and Shanghai, etc.,” stated Xuemin while addressing a recent meeting between members of the Indian travel trade and a delegation of Kunming Municipal Tourism Bureau and its travel trade members in Delhi.

Speaking exclusively to TravelBiz Monitor, Zou Ke, Assistant Director, Kunming Municipal Tourism Bureau said that India was a potential new market for the Kunming Tourism.  “We will definitely look at promoting our destinations in the market by offering attractive travel packages,” he added. Zou Ke also informed that the Mayor of Kunming Municipality would visit Delhi next month for further talks. “Kunming is known for its good climate, history and rich culture. Yunnan province, of which Kunming is the capital, is home for around 26 ethnic groups of China, this gives the city a festive look round the year,” Zou informed. He said that Kunming as a tourist destination is also known for golf courses and hot springs.

Xuemin further added that, “Olympics have created a lot of interest vis-à-vis Chinese destinations all over the world.  India is a potential market as far as China Eastern is concerned. We feel that it is the right time to introduce new routes and increase the existing frequencies from India to China,” he informed. Further, Xuemin stated that they may be able to announce new routes by year end or early next year from India to destinations across China. When asked about the probable Indian destinations, Edward said that they are looking at metro cities as potential destinations. Commenting on the occupancy figures, he said that there had been a drop of ten per cent in occupancy since May last year. “Otherwise, we had been experiencing 30 per cent growth since commencing operations,” Edward concluded. 
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