There is a growing Chinese presence at Copenhagen Airport. The Sichuan Airlines route to the panda capital of Chengdu is the third new route to China to start operations in 2018. This means that next year there will be 88% more seats for sale on direct flights between China and Denmark.
It also means that more Chinese tourists and business travellers can select Denmark as a destination and as a first stop-over on tours of Denmark and Northern Europe. According to Rasmus Jarlov, Minister of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs, this is great news:
“This new route from Chengdu, home of the pandas, to Copenhagen will provide Chinese travellers with even easier access to Denmark as a destination. The opening follows the opening of several other new, direct routes to China this year. It represents a huge endorsement of our joint endeavours during the China-Denmark Tourism Year and our determined effort to attract new airline routes to Denmark,” says Rasmus Jarlov.
At the official opening of the route Deng Ying, China’s Ambassador to Denmark, was also present, to wish a safe flight and cut the ribbon.
Thomas Woldbye, CEO of Copenhagen Airport, points out that the route to Chengdu has seriously opened the door to South Western China to the benefit of both commerce and, especially, tourism.
“The route from Chengdu means that the entire Capital Region and potentially the rest of Denmark can look forward to more Chinese tourists. That is brilliant for hotels, retail, restaurants and all the other companies, for which tourism is a great bonus,” says Thomas Woldbye.
This year, more than 110,000 Chinese tourists arrived in Denmark at Copenhagen Airport, which provides such features as Chinese signage and an app, Chinese guides and the option of using Chinese credit cards. The new route means the Airport can look forward to even more Chinese travellers.
“This year’s three new routes to China are an excellent example of how we at Copenhagen Airport cooperate with airline companies, authorities and tourist organisations to generate the best possible international access to and from Denmark. As the international airport of Denmark and Northern Europe, that is our most important objective,” says Thomas Woldbye.
Damvad Analytics has created a calculation model to measure (in GDP) the societal value of air routes.
“Every time Denmark’s connection to new markets is improved, our commerce increases. The contribution of aviation to the Danish economy is rising steadily, and in the future the new route to Chengdu will increase Denmark’s GDP by about DKK 175 million a year,” says Thomas Woldbye.
With the new route from Chengdu to Copenhagen, the Greater Copenhagen Connected route development program, a collaboration between both private and public Danish and Swedish players, has contributed to yet another direct route from China to Denmark. Mikkel Aarø-Hansen, CEO of Wonderful Copenhagen, where Greater Copenhagen Connected is placed, says:
“With the Chinese market experience gained over several years, we are ready to market the capital of Denmark towards potential Chinese visitors, who match our destination, in close cooperation with, among others, Sichuan Airlines and VisitDenmark,” says Mikkel Aarø-Hansen.
Invest in Denmark and Copenhagen Capacity have actively worked to attract the new route by providing Sichuan Airlines with advice and support in the process.
China is Denmark’s 6th largest export market for goods, and Danish investments into China have increased by 600 % since 2004. The improved connectivity will further enhance the business opportunities and tourist travel between the two countries and consequently create a significant positive impact on indirect job creation and GDP on both sides.
Today, Chengdu, the former ancient capital of China, is the cultural and financial centre of South Western China. The city is also known as ‘home of the pandas’. It is the location of the special panda farm which will next year provide two pandas for a newly-built enclosure in Copenhagen Zoo in the district of Frederiksberg.
The province is also famous for excellent, spicy food. Many people travel to China to savour the renowned Sichuan cuisine. The CEO of the Airport, who once lived in China, is not ashamed to mention his top-favourite Sichuan dish:
“It has to be ‘Ants crawling up a tree’. It’s a spicy dish with fried cellophane noodles,” says Thomas Woldbye.
Sichuan Airlines - Facts
- The route between Chengdu and Copenhagen operates an Airbus A330-300 with seating for 301 passengers.
- There are two departures a week on Mondays and Fridays. The flight lands in Copenhagen at 05:45 and departs again at 13:10. The flight time is 9 hours and 50 minutes.
- Sichuan Airlines, a private airline based in Chengdu, was founded in 1986 by China Eastern, China Southern and Shandong Airlines.
- The new route will now enable Danish companies and holidaymakers to choose Chengdu as a Chinese hub for transferring to one of the airline company’s 70+ destinations in China and Asia.
- Sichuan Airlines started life as a domestic airline, but has since opened routes to other countries in Asia and now long-haul routes to both Europe and the United States. Copenhagen is the company’s third destination in Europe.