Jetstar Asia's inaugural service to Haikou takes off
· Easing of restrictions means most travellers can visit Hainan Island visa-free
· Chinese authorities remove PCR testing requirement for inbound travellers to China
Singapore Jetstar: Asia’s inaugural flight from Singapore to Haikou, the popular port city in China’s Hainan Island, took off this morning, marking the low-cost carrier’s return to China.
The almost full inaugural flight took off from Singapore’s Changi Airport at 7:25am, with the 152 passengers on board the Airbus A320 among the first to enter the country without having to undergo PCR testing after entry requirements for inbound passengers were eased this week.
The sold-out return flight from Haikou to Singapore, is scheduled to take off at 12:00pm and arrive back in Singapore at 3:30pm.
Jetstar Asia’s CEO Barathan Pasupathi said Jetstar Asia’s return to China was a significant milestone as the airline continues to rebuild its extensive network.
“China is a critical market for Singaporeans, and we’re excited to connect both countries, enhance tourism and travel and reunite family and friends,” Mr. Barathan said.
“Haikou was the first Chinese city Jetstar Asia flew to in 2009 and today, Hainan Island is one of the few Chinese destinations where most visitors can stay for up to 30 days without a visa and so we're seeing strong demand for this service.
“And our timing couldn’t be better with the Chinese authorities lifting PCR testing making it easier for travellers to visit this incredible city which is great news for our customers as well as tourism stakeholders and hospitality businesses.”
Jetstar Asia’s Regional General Manager for Southeast Asia and Greater China, Xu Haibing said it had been great to reconnect with the Hainanese community as well as travel and business partners in the lead up to this launch.
“It has been wonderful to hear so many heartfelt stories from the Hainanese-dialect community in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia about their desire to be reunited with their families and friends, making this launch even more important,” Mr. Xu said.
“We’re delighted to welcome many of these passengers on board our inaugural flight, including crew members, their families and members from the Hainan Federation in Singapore, many of whom are visiting Haikou for the first time in years."
Chairman of the Hainan Federation in Singapore Mr Foo Jong Peng agreed that Jetstar Asia’s restart of services to Haikou was timely.
“We are pleased to be the largest travel group of Singaporeans on Jetstar’s inaugural flight to Haikou, as many of our members regard this as a homecoming, a chance to reunite with families and pay respects to our ancestors,” Mr. Foo said.
“The Hainanese community, known as strong business owners, particularly in the food and beverage industry, settled in Singapore more than 150 years ago and many of us still maintain deep historical and cultural ties to Hainan Island through our relatives.
General Manager of Hainan Dahua Tourism Service Company and Jetstar travel partner in China, Mr Xie Jinhua was delighted with Jetstar’s return to Hainan island.
“Jetstar Asia is known for its competitive fares, record for safety and reliability and customers in Hainan are excited to consider Singapore and Southeast Asia as their next international holiday destination.
“Southeast Asia has traditionally been a prominent outbound market for Hainan travellers and Singapore is a popular destination due to its unique tourism and cultural attractions.
Chairman of Haikou Meilan International Airport, Mr Wang Hong also welcomed the announcement.
“The Haikou-Singapore route has been open for many years and as the relationship between China and Singapore grows closer, we believe that the business and personal exchanges between the two cities will increase as well,” Mr. Hong said.
“The Haikou Meilan International Airport and Jetstar Asia have a long-standing relationship and we are pleased to welcome Jetstar Asia back to Haikou.”
Jetstar Asia is scheduled to operate four return services a week and is expected to carry up to 70,000 travellers each year between the two cities.
Before the pandemic, Jetstar operated more than 80 weekly services to six destinations in Greater China including Haikou, Shantou, Sanya, Xuzhou, Guiyang and Taipei.
For inspiration on where to go and what to do in Haikou, please click here for more details.
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Jetstar Asia, part of the Jetstar Group, first took to the skies in 2004 and currently operates more than 200 weekly return flights to 11 key destinations in the Asia-Pacific region. In 2021 the Jetstar Group was voted Best Low-Cost Airline in Asia Pacific and in 2022 was recognized for its excellent flight safety records and services when listed on the "2022 World's Top 10 LCC" released by Airline Ratings.