Undeterred by tourism downturn, Beijing to launch new airlines focussed on ‘Hawaii of China’
Coronavirus pandemic may have severely hit the travel and aviation sector globally but that hasn’t shaken China’s resolve. According to Chinese media reports, the country is all set to launch new airlines.
China Eastern Airlines, which is the country’s second-biggest airline, will soon launch a new carrier with a focus on the island destination of Hainan, often referred to as the ‘Hawaii of China’. The move comes at a time when the global airline industry is struggling to survive amid the Covid-19 crisis.
The new carrier, called Sanya International Airlines, comes as a joint venture between government-backed China Eastern Airlines and other several regional players. China Eastern will own 51% share in the new carrier.
As of now, no timeline has been set on the launch of the new airlines.
Hainan is witnessing a growing significance in China, something the Chinese government is hoping to capitalise on. The island, which is about 30 times the size of Hong Kong, is a popular holiday destination for Chinese tourists. The government, led by president Xi Jinping, aims to turn the island into the largest free-trade zone in the country.
This comes at a time when a second wave of coronavirus infection is feared. On Tuesday, Beijing sharply ramped up restrictions on people leaving the capital on Tuesday in an effort to stop the most serious coronavirus flare-up since February from spreading to other cities and provinces, news agency Reuters reported.
The decision to impose fresh curbs and raise the city’s emergency response level back to II from III came as Beijing’s current outbreak rose to 106 infections since Thursday.