Does Romania need direct flights from Bucharest to Beijing?
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 in the hope that one day we will have a direct flight 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 MFA website, China is Romania's first trading partner in Asia and ranks 18th among foreign investors. In 2004, on the occasion of the state visit to Romania of the President of the People's Republic of China, Hu Jintao, the Joint Declaration of Romania and the People's Republic of China on the Establishment of a Comprehensive Partnership of Friendship and Cooperation was signed. Since 2005, Bucharest has been a twin city of Beijing.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Victor Ponta was on an official visit to Beijing. In one of the statements, Victor Ponta said: "We proposed raising 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 financial support, if it wants to purchase aircraft capable of operating the Bucharest-Beijing route. But I don't think this will happen too soon. TAROM is not in a very good period from an economic point of view or at a management level. 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, the president of the Board of Directors of Tarom, is more pessimistic and declared: “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 Bucharest - Beijing flights 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 Bucharest - Beijing flights. and Beijing - Bucharest. The aircraft could leave Bucharest on a Tuesday and return on Thursday, for example. Why should the crew stay in Beijing for a week? I think two flights a week would work. And I don't think accommodation would be such a big deal compared to the profitability of the race.
I am convinced that flights on the route Bucharest - Beijing can be profitable. There are many Romanian tourists who annually choose to spend their holidays in China, especially in 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 businessmen of Chinese origin have businesses in Romania. According to the National Office of the Trade Register, 30 Chinese companies and Romanian-Chinese joint ventures were established in Romania (until June 2012, 10441), the value of Chinese investments in Romania being approx. 410,7 million USD, placing the Chinese PR on the 18th place in the general ranking of the countries that invested in Romania.
Today, they all have to fly to major hubs in Europe. It's tiring, many hours lost at the stopover, extra flights, higher costs. Currently, a flight Bucharest - Beijing can last on average about 13-15 hours with a stopover, and the price of the plane ticket starts from about 600 EUR (round trip). Direct flights would be much more comfortable and financially advantageous. Let's not omit the cargo side either. Currently, the exchange of goods is done on 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 won't be China Eastern Airlines because it doesn't have a main hub at Beijing airport. But I expect Air China, China Southern Airlines or Hainan Airlines. It will probably be a matter of time before we announce the opening of the Bucharest-Beijing route.