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China Eastern Begins Flights between St Petersburg and Shanghai

China Eastern Airlines, one of the largest carriers in China, launched scheduled direct flights between Shanghai and Saint Petersburg (Russia), on June 21st, 2016. The flights will be offered three times a week throughout the summer season from Pulkovo St Petersburg Airport.

Flights from St Petersburg to one of the largest centers of business activity of the PRC and Asia will be provided aboard comfortable Boeing B767-300 planes, each with a capacity of 226 passengers. Flights will depart on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The travel time from St Petersburg is 9 hours 25 minutes and 11 hours 5 minutes on the return flight.

Starting in January 2016 the visa-free stay time for citizens of the Russian Federation who are transit passengers via Shanghai has been increased to 144 hours, which gives China Eastern passengers a unique chance to enjoy Shanghai’s magical ambiance and beauty without the hassle of having to get a visa.

“Passenger traffic between St Petersburg and various cities in China has been growing steadily over the past several years. In 2015 alone, charter and scheduled flights carried over 93,000 passengers, which is 92% more than in the previous year. Over the first five months of this year, the total growth amounted to be 135% from the year before. This trend is mostly due to a rapid increase in the number of group tours from the PRC. Moreover, close cultural and business ties between Russia and China provide for a stable demand for air travel between the two countries. The start of China Eastern operations in St Petersburg was a long-awaited and significant event for Pulkovo Airport, the tourism market, and the business community of the city. We are confident that new flights between St Petersburg and Shanghai will be in demand by passengers of both countries, and that residents of St Petersburg will appreciate the destinations offered from the company’s route network, which includes more than a thousand cities all over the world,” remarked Evgeniy Ilyin, Chief Commercial Officer of Northern Capital Gateway LLC (NCG), the managing company of Pulkovo Airport.

NCG actively expands the geography of flights available from Pulkovo, connecting China and Russia’s northern capital with direct flights. In addition to Shanghai, the airport offers scheduled flights to Beijing and Urumqi. Charter flights are offered to Taipei, Macao, and Beijing. Due to a considerable increase in passenger traffic from the PRC, NCG is adapting the infrastructure of St Petersburg's gateway to allow for a more convenient travel experience. Arrivals and departures audio announcements have been translated into Mandarin, as are menus in restaurants and cafes in the airport terminal, passenger information leaflets, and more. UnionPay cards are accepted at stores and food service outlets in Pulkovo.

China Eastern Airlines, founded in 1988, is the third largest airline in the PRC in terms of passenger flow. It is a member of the SkyTeam international aviation alliance. The airline’s fleet has more than 560 aircraft, and by 2020 the company intends to increase the number of its aircraft to 800. The extensive geography of the airline’s flights allows residents of the Russian North-West to travel from Pulkovo with convenient connections in Shanghai to various cities in China and other countries all over the world. China Eastern, together with other airlines within the SkyTeam Alliance offers connections to 1057 destinations in 179 countries from various regions of the world.

Pulkovo International Saint Petersburg Airport served 13.5 mio passengers in 2015, ranking fourth in Russia in terms of passenger flow. The airport is operated by Northern Capital Gateway LLC, an international consortium of VTB Capital, Fraport AG, and Copelouzos Group. In 2015, Pulkovo won the Airport Council International ASQ award as Best Airport in Europe.


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