Hainan Airlines and Xiamen Airlines are both scheduled to fly one-off flights to Africa. On August 19th, Xiamen Airlines will fly nonstop to Madagascar using a Boeing 787. Meanwhile, Hainan will fly an Airbus A330-300 to Mozambique on August 22nd.
Hainan Airlines plans to fly an A330 to Mozambique
According to Routesonline, Hainan Airlines will be flying an Airbus A330-300 nonstop from Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) to Maputo International Airport (MPM) on August 22nd.
The flight will leave Beijing in the early hours of the morning at 03:05 local time, reaching Maputo at 11:35 local time. After five hours on the ground, the plane will depart Maputo for Colombo (CMB) at 16:35. The aircraft will spend 90 minutes on the ground in Colombo as a technical stop before flying into Nanchang, finally reaching China on August 23rd.
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According to the Chinese embassy, the flight is for those in Mozambique looking to return to China. The economy class fare was roughly $2,600 for the one-way journey to China. If you wanted to do the stretch in business class, that would set you back about $4,700.
In order to get onboard the aircraft, a passenger must have a negative nucleic acid test– including younger passengers. The test must be completed within five days before boarding. Anyone with a positive test or else showing symptoms before boarding, or who was in contact with people infected with COVID-19, will not be allowed to board the aircraft. Testing was conducted in conjunction with local authorities at the cost of just over $50 per person.
Hainan Airlines is using an Airbus A330-300. For passengers traveling in business class, the hard product onboard is a pretty standard forward-facing 1-2-1 configured lie-flat seat. In coach, it is a standard 2-4-2 configuration. Hainan configures its aircraft with 32 seats in business class and 260 in economy for a total capacity of 292. The Airbus A330-300 is not designed for ultra-long-range travel of 14-15 hours, hence the stop in Colombo.
Xiamen Airlines is flying a 787-9 to Madagascar
Separately, per a report in Routesonline, Xiamen Airlines is planning a one-time charter flight between Fuzhou and Antananarivo. Both segments, from Fuzhou Changle International Airport (FOC) and Ivato International Airport (TNR) in Antananarivo, are nonstop.
The 787-9 will depart Fuzhou at 07:00 local time with an arrival scheduled into Antananarivo is scheduled at 13:00 local time. The aircraft will spend three hours on the ground before turning back and arriving in Fuzhou the next morning at 08:30 local time.
This aircraft is also likely operating a flight to bring back Chinese nationals or any other interested parties that need to get to China. There is a relatively significant diaspora of people of Chinese descent in Madagascar, so the flight is not very surprising.
Xiamen Airlines‘ Boeing 787-9 is configured with 287 seats. There are 30 in lie-flat business class and 257 in economy class. Business class is a reverse herringbone 1-2-1 configuration. Meanwhile, coach is a standard 3-3-3 configuration.
Special repatriation flights
Africa has seen several special repatriation flights. Vietnam Airlines has flown back citizens from Equatorial Guinea and Angola. Meanwhile, elsewhere in Africa, Ethiopian Airlines is offering a Ghana-US repatriation flight. Air Peace also previously operated a repatriation flight for Chinese citizens. That aircraft made its way to Guangzhou.
Have you flown on an interesting repatriation flight? What do you make of these repatriation flights? Let us know in the comments!
Routesonline was the source of scheduling data in the article and is linked above.