Emirates’ Chinese expansion strategy took a significant step forward on Tuesday with the launch of the airline’s first flights to two destinations: Yinchuan and Zhengzhou.
Linking Dubai with Yinchuan, the capital of the predominantly Muslim region of Ningxia, and Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province and one of central China’s most populous cities, the new service forms part of China’s ‘Belt and Road Initiative’, which is aimed at driving trade and transport links between east and west.
The airline’s chairman & chief executive, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, was onboard the inaugural flight from Dubai, along with a number of senior Emirates executives. The aircraft was greeted in both cities by a traditional water cannon salute.
“Emirates is very pleased to start services to Yinchuan and Zhengzhou,” said Sheikh Ahmed. “This new route will provide citizens in and near both cities with convenient and fast connections to destinations in the Middle East, Africa and Europe via Dubai.
“We are confident the new air transport links will also help boost trade and tourism flows to the growing central and western parts of China where these cities are located. We would like to thank the government and airport authorities for their warm welcome and support in the launch of our flights, and we look forward to serving our customers on the route,” he added.
The new service will now depart Dubai every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 0250 and arrive at Yinchuan’s Hedong International Airport at 1335. The service will then depart Yinchuan at 1535 and arrive at Zhengzhou’s Xinzheng International Airport at 1715. The return flight will leave depart Zhengzhou at 2115 and arrive in Yinchuan at 2300, before departing again at 0040 and arriving back in Dubai at 0430.
Emirates will deploy its Boeing 777-200LR aircraft on the route, offering first, business and economy class seats.
Yinchuan and Zhengzhou become Emirates’ first destinations in western and central China. The airline currently flies to Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou.