China Eastern Airlines is ready to begin twice-weekly flights from Shanghai to Honolulu on Aug. 9, the Hawaii Tourism Authority says.

The second biggest airline in China and one of the top 10 carriers worldwide, China Eastern is the first airline to actually set a date for long-sought direct service from China.

A smaller Chinese carrier, Hainan Airlines, which has flights to Seattle, said two years ago it would fly to Hawaii from Beijing, but no date was ever set and the service has never begun.

China Eastern needs regulatory approval from U.S. officials in Washington, D.C., but tourism marketing officials in Honolulu said Wednesday they do not anticipate any problem getting that approval in time.

Hawaii officials calculate that just two flights a week could generate $5 million a month for the state economy, but they also hope that the flights will carry enough passengers to justify adding flights.

Shanghai is China’s most populous city, and home to tens of thousands of business executives and entrepreneurs who already do a great deal of world travel. Many speak English.


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