Chinese carrier, West Air has this week inaugurated its first international air link with the launch of scheduled flights between its Jiangbei International Airport base in Chongqing and Singapore’s Changi International Airport. The inaugural flight to the Asian hub took place on the evening of February 4, 2016 and the route will continue to be served three times a week using an Airbus A320-200 with a single class configuration of 180 Economy seats.
This new route has been launched to strengthen ties between Chongqing and Singapore following the singing of a Memorandum of Strategic Cooperation earlier this year. The memorandum was signed by Changi Airport Group, Chongqing Airport Group, SilkAir, Air China Limited Chongqing Branch, China West Air and Chongqing Airlines in a bid to enhance air connectivity between Western China and Singapore.
The key areas of the memorandum are to increase flight frequencies between Chongqing in Sichuan province in Western China and Singapore, to boost transit traffic and to conduct destination marketing and route promotion campaigns.
The introduction of the route will further accelerate Chongqing’s rapid rise as a regional centre. Within five years (2010-2015), passenger numbers at Jiangbei International Airport more than doubled – from 15,802,334 to 32,402,196. To support the growing demand significant infrastructure projects are close to completion, including the construction of a third runway and a new passenger terminal - both are expected to be completed within the calendar year.
“For Changi Airport, Western China represents exciting untapped growth opportunities. Following the signing of the memorandum of strategic cooperation, we are delighted to welcome the initial fruit of our collaboration through the commencement of West Air’s operation to Changi Airport,” said Lim Ching Kiat, Senior Vice-President for Market Development, Changi Airport Group.
“The growth of the aviation market involves the joint efforts of both airports and airlines to stimulate and facilitate the growth of the entire ecosystem. Going forward, we will continue to work with our partners under this framework to develop air connectivity and promote both trade and tourism flow between the two cities and our respective air hubs,” he added.
Changi Airport now has 32 direct city links with China, having added Sanya, Changchun, Quanzhou and Yinchuan to its network in 2015. In the last calendar year, China made up around nine per cent of Changi Airport’s total passenger traffic, making it the airport’s fifth largest passenger source market.
With the addition of West Air, Changi Airport now has 12 airlines operating direct services to China, with a total of 560 weekly flights being offered between the two countries. MIDT data for the first six months of 2015 shows over 11,500 passengers a day flying between China and Singapore.