China’s Juneyao Airlines Adds Helsinki To Dublin And Keflavik

Shanghai carrier Juneyao has announced it is adding three fifth freedom routes to its Helsinki service. Next year, the Chinese Star Alliance member will fly HEL to Dublin, Manchester and Keflavik.

Juneyao jet take-off
Juneyao sees Europe as ripe for further expansion. Photo:
Windmemories via Wikimedia

Juneyao is a relatively young carrier. Long-haul international flights were started earlier this year with a 787-9. Juneyao has 10 of the type on order, according to OMAT. The Chinese carrier now flies Shanghai to Helsinki daily.

In March of 2020, Juneyao will fly a twice-weekly service between Shanghai and Keflavik, via Helsinki. Whether this is strictly a fifth freedom arrangement is unclear. We have contacted Juneyao for clarification.


Juneyao continues to build strong connections with its European partners. It is one of the largest private airlines in China and operates around 160 routes. The carrier owns over 70 aircraft consisting of Airbus A320s and Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

Juneyao is also a Connecting Partner of Star Alliance.

Juneyao jet take-off
Helsinki a staging post for Juneyao. Photo: shimin via Wikimedia

The company is already working closely with Finnair but intends to push forward in due course with plans to conquer other Nordic territories.

The first flight between Juneyao’s hub and Helsinki arrived on June 28th this year. Helsinki’s low cost and geographical advantage makes it an enticing destination of an airline such as Juneyao; one with European tourism in its sights. That makes perfect business sense especially in light of the surge of Chinese tourism to northern Europe.

Passengers flying from Helsinki with Juneyao are now able to utilize an extensive network of cooperative partners for flights to other cities in China and Oceania.

The airline’s recently agreed codeshare with Finnair allows Europe-bound passengers smooth connections to domestic Nordic destinations such as Ivalo and Oulu. Conversely, to Finnair’s network in China, the new codeshare agreement adds eight new destinations: Harbin, Shenyang, Dalian, Qingdao, Xi´an, Chongqing, Kunming, Xiamen and Fuzhou.

New routes and fifth freedom

The company admits its move to Helsinki was not by random design. It also sensed a desire among Chinese travelers to visit further afield, especially to Iceland. Thus, Juneyao’s launching flights to Keflavik, as well as Dublin and Manchester, does not come as a huge shock. Xu Xiang, director of the airline’s Nordic arm told Fréttablaðið,

Today there are about 100,000 Chinese passengers coming to Iceland. We estimate that about 20,000 passengers on our roads will arrive in the country next year. We want to be the first to offer direct flights between the countries. After that, we expect a 10 percent annual increase.”

Juneyao jet take-off
Iceland was seemingly always on the cards. Photo: Wei Kakurai via Wikimedia

The carrier’s Helsinki flight will service these three destinations from March 2020. Flights to Dublin and Kevlavik will be operated twice weekly; flights to Manchester thrice-weekly. As we reported, Shanghai to Manchester will start at the same time as flights to Keflavik.

Thereafter, direct flights between Shanghai and Athens will begin.

If the flights are performed under a fifth freedom arrangement passengers may book Juneyao exclusively from Helsinki to Dublin, Keflavik or Manchester.

Should Juneyao’s entry into northern Europe prove successful they may use Kevlavik as a connecting destination for the east coast of the United States.