Does Romania need direct flights on the route Bucharest - Beijing?

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On 1 April 2013, I made a farce and announced the route Beijing - Bucharest with China Eastern Airlines. The news was received with great enthusiasm by many Airlines Travel readers. Digi 24 retrieved information (without source) and created an entire report based on them.

I chose to make this joke with the hope that one day we will fly directly from Bucharest to Beijing. And to answer the title question, Romania needs direct flights to ASIA, and China is one of the countries targeted. According to the MAE website, China is Romania's first trading partner in Asia and ranks 18 among foreign investors. In 2004, on the occasion of the state visit to Romania of the RP Chinese President, Hu Jintao, the Joint Declaration of Romania and the People's Republic of China on the Establishment of a Broad Partnership of Friendship and Cooperation was signed. From 2005, Bucharest is a twin city with Beijing.

DO NOT TAROM

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Victor Ponta was on an official visit to Beijing. In one of the statements, Victor Ponta said: "I proposed to raise the relationship between Romania and China to the highest level that Romania has, that of Strategic Partnership". Victor Ponta wants to fly directly on the Bucharest-Beijing route and will provide Tarom support, if needed, for the opening of this line.

At the moment, TAROM does not have long-haul aircraft and will need support, especially financially, if it wants to purchase aircraft capable of operating the Bucharest - Beijing route. But this I do not think will happen too soon. TAROM is not in a period too good from the economic point of view nor at the level of management. Several members of the TAROM Board of Directors they came in with malicious statements to Christian Heinzmann, private CEO of the airline, perhaps one of the few people who did something for TAROM.

Dan Pascariu, Tarom's CA president, is more pessimistic and said: “How high can the frequency of Bucharest-Beijing flights be so that the planes are full and can be profitable? Because if they are weekly, with the crew staying there for a week, the costs increase so much that in the end such a flight can become unprofitable". (source: obiectiv.info)

I would like to contradict Mr Pascariu and say that the flights from Bucharest to Beijing can be operated with the same aircraft and the same crew even once a week, but with a break of up to 48 hours between flights from Bucharest - Beijing and Beijing - Bucharest. The aircraft could leave Bucharest on a Tuesday and return Thursday as an example. Why stay the crew for a week in Beijing? I think there would be two flights a week. And the accommodation I don't think would be such a big problem compared to the profitability of the race.

I am convinced that flights on the Bucharest - Beijing route can be profitable. There are many Romanian tourists who choose to spend their holidays in China every year, especially in the areas of Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Macau, but also in neighboring countries such as Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, etc. As well, we can attract many more Chinese tourists to Romania.

Many business people of Chinese origin have business in Romania. According to the National Trade Register Office, 30 of Chinese companies and Romanian-Chinese joint ventures were set up in Romania (until 2012 June 10441), the value of Chinese investments in Romania being approx. 410,7 million USD, placing the Chinese RP in the 18 place in the general ranking of the countries that have invested in Romania.

At present, all of them have to fly with scale on the big hubs in Europe. It is tiring, many hours lost on the scale, extra flights, higher costs. Currently, a Bucharest - Beijing flight can take an average of about 13-15 hours on a stopover, and the ticket price starts at about 600 EUR (roundtrip). Direct flights would be much more comfortable and more financially advantageous. Let's not skip the cargo part either. Currently, the exchange of goods takes place on the water and takes a long time. Direct flights would greatly simplify the situation.

And if TAROM does not take advantage of the situation, then it will certainly take advantage of a Chinese company and open the Bucharest - Beijing route. And no, it will not be China Eastern Airlines because it has no main hub at Beijing airport. But I expect Air China, China Southern Airlines or Hainan Airlines. It will probably be a matter of time until we announce the opening of the Bucharest - Beijing route.

7 Comments
  1. Alin says

    The most relevant data are here - http://www.anna.aero/2012/12/12/the-big-leak-which-airports-are-on-turkish-airlines-route-network-shopping-list/
    Looking for OTP in the list you can see that 5 is the top passenger transport source for Turkish to Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore. That is what Tarom should know.

    But I say Tarom must become profitable before venturing into Long Haul.

    1. Sorin Rusi says

      Well, there are many Romanians who travel to ASIA through different hubs in Europe and beyond. So a direct flight would be very good, no stopover, no wasted hours and maybe cheaper.

  2. Paul says

    probably if it will be needed there will be a route from Romania to Beijing, but I do not think there is much traffic to Beijing at the moment.

    1. Sorin Rusi says

      Paul, exactly what I said above. Many passengers travel to Asia, to China, departing from Romania, but are required to do so by stopover.

  3. George says

    They have that in mind, I'm sure. The only medium-long courier route that could possibly be profitable would be Beijing ... Something else I don't think it is. And to maintain and operate a plane just for this route, I honestly think it gives a lot less to the final calculations. This variant could be tried with a plane rented on a wet lease for a year, two years ... but I still do not think there is enough traffic.

    1. Sorin Rusi says

      Let's not forget that they want to quit A310. So he would need a medium and long-haul plane anyway. Currently, I know that charters are made for longer distances with A310. Even A310 to Beijing could be used. From my information, A310 has autonomy of up to 8000 of Km, and up to Beijing are about 7050 Km.

      I believe that long routes can be opened if there is a desire and a well done business plan.

  4. [...] would be the second postponement, this after the route was initially announced for the end of March 2014. Then the first postponement appeared, the rumors indicating the launch of the route somewhere through June 2014, and now […]

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