Plans on developing its official website in English for visibility and ease
Foraying into the Indian subcontinent four years back, Shandong Airlines (SDA) is now seeking further into this prospective market owing to its rising outbound traffic from the country. In addition to arranging talks with some of the leading domestic airlines in India for alliances, Wang Shuai, General Representative of Shandong Airlines speaks about how SDA is also adapting avenues to make its presence in the market more amicable
By Sayanti Halder
Boasting the exclusivity of being the only airline operating direct flights between Kunming from North India via New Delhi, the Chinese carrier Shandong Airlines has always been offering seamless and non-stop flights on the 2,569-kilometre route. Observing the noticeable demand of Indian flyers consistently travelling to the Kunming and several other provinces of Mainland China, Shuai asserts that the airlines are keen on fetching prospects of establishing codeshare alliances with some of the leading domestic airlines that may, in due course, push SDA to increase its network or flight expansion between the two countries. “As the bilateral traffic rights between India and China is fully utilised as of now, there are no immediate plans to expand in India. However, we are in talks with Air India and Vistara for a codeshare agreement to pick traffic from other Indian cities,” he further shares.
Apart from augmenting its commercial facets for India, Shuai informs that SDA is keen on making its presence more accessible for both the Indian travel agents and consumers. To begin with, he tells how Shandong is in the process of developing its official website in the English language as it is currently available only in Mandarin thereby, making its digital attendance more recognisable amongst the Indian flyers. Shandong Airlines is currently operating four flights a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, which seems to suffice the ever-rising number of flyers from India according to Shuai who feels that it is the SDA’s exceptional offering that would attract more bookings.
“We have the best fares in the market (including one-way fares) for mainland China sectors. Shandong Airlines is offering “2PC baggage allowance” for students, which allows carrying two pieces of luggage, making it a very popular choice among them. Among our other USPs, one major is the fact that we are offering free hotel accommodation with breakfast in Kunming, Jinan and Qingdao for our transit passengers.” He further reveals that SDA is effortless in carrying out programs to work closely with the China National Tourist Office (CNTO) for creating awareness about the destination, namely Kunming, Jinan and Qingdao, in the India market through awareness campaigns, roadshows and urge the Indian traveller to experience the natural beauty and touristy offerings of China.
“We started our India operations in October 2015 and are currently operating four weekly services to Delhi, two of which connect with Jinan and Qingdao. These flights are operating via Kunming, one of the tourist hotspots of China, making us the only airline offering direct connectivity to Kunming from North India. In the almost four years’ time, since we began our Delhi operations, Shandong Airlines has won the hearts of its esteemed guests through straight from the heart service and superior product offerings. Besides, the leisure travellers/holidaymakers, we have students patronising our airline and we are also servicing MICE business to Kunming and Qingdao. Overall, have to say we are poised to grow in the India market with best-in-class services on offer and an increasing number of patrons,” adds Manisha Singh, Sales Manager of Shandong Airlines- India.
Speaking of the airline company’s essential expectations from the India market, Shuai elucidates, “As a Chinese carrier operating direct flights to Kunming, we do expect a growth in the leisure tourist traffic making footfalls in Kunming and Qingdao as these two cities offer tremendous potential to develop the typical Indian holidaymaker seeking an unforgettable holiday experience. Recently, Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) had organised their previous convention in Kunming and we do hope to leverage the resultant increase in interest for Yunan Province from potential holidaymakers.”