Finnair reopened a direct route between Xi'an, Shaanxi Province and Helsinki in Finland on March 30, in response to the rising demand by both Chinese and European tourists in recent years. An important traffic conjunction in Xi'an in Northwest China, is going to contribute to the market expansion of Finnair.
The direct flight by Finnair is not new to either Chinese or European tourists. As early as June 2013, Finnair opened direct flights between the two cities for the first time, but then allegedly stopped because of the inadequate number of passengers before reopening the route in March 2014. The flight has stopped and reopened several times before the recent reopening of the direct flight due to a rising demand.
Xi'an has become an increasingly important city for overseas airline companies like Finnair for its market and economic potential in the region. Statistics by China Tourism Agency showed that Xi'an is among the top 12 departure cities for Chinese tourists to travel overseas and a top 10 city in terms of the increase of the amount of Chinese tourists to go abroad.
Robert Öhrnberg, Finnair's general manager of Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, said that Shaanxi Province enjoys venerable history while its capital Xi'an is the center of Northwest China and therefore plays a very important role in their market strategy in China.
“With the opening of the direct flight, we hope that it can cover the whole of the Northwestern region or even a larger area, and that more European tourists will be able to catch a glimpse of historical Xi'an. It also helps to boost the economic and cultural exchange,” Öhrnberg said.
In 2016, the Finnish visa application center also opened a branch office in Xi'an, making it easier for the local people to travel to Europe without having to come to Beijing for the visa application.