Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Seatac) is set to grow again with the addition of new international flights later this summer to both Guadalajara, Mexico on Mexican low-cost-carrier Volaris and with a new nonstop flight to Shenzhen, China with continuing service to Xiamen on Xiamen Airlines, the carrier’s first service to North America. Both routes are uncontested and will offer new nonstop destinations from the ever expanding Northwest.
Volaris GDL – SEA Service Begins July 7, 2016
Volaris will begin Seattle’s only year round service to Mexico with thrice-weekly service between Seattle and Guadalajara. The service will be uncontested and will connect Seattle travelers to Volaris’ vast Mexican and growing Central American network. Volaris is a low-cost, no thrill airlines similar to Spirit or Frontier and travelers need to be prepared to pay for all additional extras when flying Volaris. The ticket cost only covers the cost of the seat.
Volaris currently operates 45 routes to 21 U.S. destinations. Since beginning their operations in March 2006, Volaris has increased its routes from an initial five to a current 150 and its fleet from four to 59 aircraft. Volaris currently operates over 250 daily flight segments on routes connecting 40 cities in Mexico and 23 international cities in the United States with Mexico’s most modern airplane fleet.
Flight details for Seattle-Guadalajara service (Tuesdays, Thursday, and Sundays)
|Y4 896||GDL at 6:33 p.m.||Sea at 9:30 p.m.||July 7, 2016|
|Y4 897||SEA at 11:15 p.m.||GDL at 6:06 a.m. (next day||July 7, 2016|
Xiamen Airlines SEA-SZX-XMN Begins September 26, 2016
Xiamen Airline will begin service to their second North American gateway this September with a new 787 between Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport in the Pearl River Delta region. This new service begins just two short months after the launch of new service between Xiamen and Vancouver, Canada. Xiamen Airlines is relatively unknown outside of China, but the airline will try to change that as it begins thrice weekly service to Seattle from the industrial city of Shenzhen. Xiamen Airlines will be the only airline operating between Seattle and Shenzhen, but the airline will compete with nearby Hong Kong International Airport and Delta’s daily Seattle – Hong Kong service. Shenzhen is just north of Hong Kong and does offer easy connections to Hong Kong for those who have obtained a Chinese Visa. In addition, I would expect that Xiamen will utilize fellow SkyTeam partner Delta’s regional flights in Seattle to help feed this new service.
“Service between the two leading technology centers of Shenzhen and Seattle is a very important addition to the Port of Seattle’s direct flights throughout Asia,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Fred Felleman. “We value Xiamen Airlines commitment to connecting our region’s leisure and business travelers to new opportunities with state of the art Boeing 787 airplanes. Our goal of being a world-class international airport not only refers to customer service but also reaching new and diverse parts of the world.”
The aircraft route will begin in the city of Xiamen (headquarters to Xiamen Airlines), then shuttle to Shenzhen before making the nonstop flight to Seattle. Xiamen Airlines, who operates the largest all-Boeing fleet in China, will serve the route three times per week (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays) with 787-8 aircraft.
“Xiamen Airlines’ new nonstop service between Shenzhen and Seattle builds on the special connection our cities share, enhancing our region’s standing as a globally competitive hub for international trade and investment,” said Maud Daudon, president and CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. “In addition to our region’s longstanding, solid relationships with Chinese businesses in Shenzhen, we are also experiencing a tremendous increase in tourism between both countries, with a 7.6 percent increase in visitors year over year.”
“Xiamen Airlines boasts a fleet of 153 all-Boeing airplanes and 29 consecutive years of profitability,” said Zhao Dong, Executive Vice President of Xiamen Airlines. “The number of passengers carried annually by Xiamen Airlines exceeds 23 million and the annual operating revenue tops 20 billion yuan. The inauguration of Xiamen-Shenzhen-Seattle route extends the flight network of Xiamen Airlines to the U.S. for the first time, providing a new choice for passengers travelling between China and the U.S. We are devoted to provide considerate service and new flying experience to our passengers, striving to become a leading carrier in Asia-Pacific region serving with global flight network.
Flight details for Seattle-Xiamen-Shenzhen service (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays beginning Sept 26, 2016
|MF845||XMN 9:30 a.m.||SZX 10:45 a.m.||SZX 12:45 p.m.||SEA 10:25 a.m.|
|MF 846||SEA 1:25 p.m.||SZX 6:15 p.m. (next day)||SZX 8:15 p.m. (next day)||XMN 9:25 p.m. (next day)|
The new service from both Xiamen Airlines and Volaris are big wins for travelers in Seattle who will have more travel options than ever before. Xiamen Airlines will be the third airline to offer direct flights to mainland China from Seattle after Delta and Hainan, both which have expanded operations over the last five years but only fly to Beijing and Shanghai. Meanwhile Volaris will have a tough battle ahead, as Aeromexico and Alaska have both historically operated nonstop service to either Guadelajara and Mexico City from Seattle but have both ceased operations due to underperformance. It will be interesting to see if Volaris can make it this new service work.