Hawaii Welcomes First-Ever Direct Flight From China
On Tuesday, Aug. 9, Hawaii welcomed the first-ever direct regularly-scheduled flight from China to our islands. The passengers of China Eastern Airlines flight #571, including eight members of the Chinese media, were sent off from Shanghai with a departure ceremony at Pudong Airport on Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. local time and arrived in Honolulu at 9:50 a.m. HST. For many, this was their first visit to our islands and the United States. Upon arrival, the passengers were greeted with hula, live music and a welcome reception at the Honolulu International Airport, at which Governor Neil Abercrombie and Mike McCartney welcomed the flight and offered their remarks.
Since the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding in 2007, which opened leisure and group travel from China to the U.S., the HTA has been working to establish regularly-scheduled direct service connecting Hawaii and China. The HTA projects that more than 91,000 visitors from China will arrive in 2011, and estimate the new route to provide up to $60 million in annual visitor expenditures, with the average Chinese visitor spending more than $368 per person per day. China Eastern Airlines' new route will arrive in Honolulu on Tuesdays and Fridays at 9:50 a.m. HST and depart for Shanghai at 11:50 a.m. HST the same day.