Chinese airlines in Canada -

Chinese airlines in Canada

New Tails Hitting Canada’s Runways


There will soon be some new tails at Canada’s airports. With the government of China finally granting Canada ‘Approved Destination Status,’ air traffic between the two countries is expected to boom. As tour groups of mainland nationals begin to flock to our shores, the entrepreneurial Chinese aren’t about to leave all the flying to Air Canada.

Ever heard of Hainan Airlines? It’s definitely not a household airline name in Canada. But it may soon be. How about Shadong Airlines? Xiamen Airlines? These young carriers serve millions of Chinese passengers in a rapidly expanding domestic market. Hainan is one of the few to spread its wings beyond China onto the international front. They currently serve Seattle and have now received regulatory approval to become the first Chinese carrier to offer scheduled flights between Toronto and Beijing.

Thanks to its geographical position, Vancouver is the natural Canadian gateway to Asia, and Chinese carriers are already firmly entrenched. China Airlines, China Eastern and Air China each serve Vancouver, while currently all outbound Toronto flights to Chinese cities are served by Air Canada.

China is the fastest-growing major economy in the world, with an average annual GDP growth rate of over 10%. A large middle class population with strong consumption power is emerging, especially in major cities. China’s outbound tourists totalled 20.22 million in 2003, overtaking Japan for the first time. But that was only the beginning: the China Tourism Academy estimates as many as 54 million tourists will go abroad this year, up from 47 million in 2009. With 54 million Chinese travellers poised to fly, the world’s skies may soon be dominated by eastern carriers.

The Approved Destination Status now allows Chinese travel agents to advertise and organize group tours to Canada. In 2008, visits to Canada by Chinese citizens were up 5.3 per cent from the year before, for a total of 159,000. Chinese travellers had the highest average length of stay (28 nights) in Canada and spent more than visitors from any other country ($1,648.51). According to a Conference Board of Canada survey, approved destination status is expected to boost the yearly rate of travel to Canada from China by up to 50 per cent by 2015. With U.S. overnight visitors down 53% since 2000, there’s no doubt that Canada’s inbound tourism industry is awaiting the influx of Chinese visitors with bated breath.

The other benefit of the ADS designation is that new services offered by Chinese carriers flying to our cities will likely mean tighter pricing on fares for Canadians wanting to visit China.

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Chinese airlines in Canada

  1. China Airlines is from Taiwan. Different market and regulator.

  2. Any competition to Air Canada and its Star Alliance cartel members is welcome !

    • Lets lobby the government to deregulate even more and cut more safety measures so we can compete. Have we not learnt our lesson with the BP oil spill. You get what you pay for bottom line. I wouldnt trust an airplane thats maintained in China or one thats maintained to a standard to compete with Chinese standards. People should realize that costs and safety are directly related especialy in a deregulated open market aviation environment.

  3. I want to see Canada prosper too but I have to say that generalization about Asian expertise is misleading and no more true for Asians than it is for the West. The major Asian airlines do a superb job of maintaining their aircraft and their training standard is very demanding. That is why they place in the top 10 places in surveys where they compete against Western quality of service, etc. The same attention given to cabin service is given to maintenance. It is an eye opening life experience to live and work in parts of Asia and the Middle East. Almost none of it is as we are led to believe in the West.
    Stereotyping comes from the inexperienced on both sides of the divide.

  4. No one is questioning "Chinese"(not all asians are the same) expertise or the morality of the average chinese person. It's the lack of regulation and corruption within the regulation that's to be questioned. Children's toy's, lead paint, baby food the list goes on. We are also seeing the same problems developing here within North America with big business lobbying governments to deregulate in order to cut corners for profits. Cutting corners is not something that should be done in the world of aircraft maintenance for the sake of public safety. Just in the same way that big oil companies should not be able to cut corners for the sake of the environment.

  5. I'm with TKH. This has nothing to do with stereotyping Asians or even the Chinese. I'll fly Cathy Pacific any day. But the PRC has a centuries-old history of corruption and shoddy business practices (going well back into the imperial days) that the government has seldom, if ever, been able to keep a handle on. I wouldn't trust my life to one of their airlines no matter how low the price. How much do you want a bet someone at the company paid off an official to give them a clean safety inspection? If you think it doesn't happen, Ehjay, I submit it is you who is inexperienced.

    It's bad enough that our own airlines are being turned over to self-regulation. At least ours know there will be a massive price to pay if there's ever an accident. Good luck getting damages out of a Chinese carrier.

    • you can say anything you want, the fact is the Chinese carriers have a sterling record comparable to Air Canada, so they must have done something right.

  6. PS: Are you sure that shouldn't read "Shandong Airlines," MacLeans?