With this move, the HNA Group carrier will have three long-haul routes at Zhengzhou, a city of 9.7 million people 660 km (410 mi.) southwest of Beijing.
Sichuan Airlines proposed in March 2017 to open the route between Zhengzhou and Los Angeles in October, but failed to follow through.
The other city that Tianjin Airlines proposes to link with Los Angeles is Xian, which has 9.5 million people and is 470 km west of Zhengzhou.
For each of the two Chinese cities, Tianjin Airlines has applied to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) to fly to Los Angeles 3X-weekly with Airbus A330s or A350s. The A330-200 in its current build standard has a still-air range with full payload of 13,450 km. Zhengzhou and Xian are 10,700km and 11,000km from Los Angeles, respectively.
Although Tianjin Airlines nominated December as the start date for both routes, the timing could easily slip. For example, the carrier applied in 2017 to link Zhengzhou with Sydney at the end of 2017; the service is scheduled to begin Jan. 29. Tianjin Airlines also applied in 2017 to fly between Zhengzhou and Moscow starting in May 2018.
Tianjin Airlines already has one intercontinental service operating from Xian to Auckland. To help fill seats, the flights have an extension at the Chinese end to Tianjin, the carrier’s hometown, southeast of Beijing.
China’s secondary cities are the big ones except those of the official first rank: Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, each of which is the base of one of the country’s three largest airlines.
Tianjin Airlines is based at Tianjin, but has set up intercontinental services from other secondary cities, notably Chongqing. Indeed, the carrier has become a specialist in such services, which are generally aimed at tourism markets and operate at low frequencies with local government subsidies.
(Bradley Perrett - Aviation Week / ATWOnline News)