First Las Vegas-China flights slated for December

State and local officials have worked for nearly two decades to get nonstop flights between Las Vegas and China.

Those efforts paid off Thursday when Hainan Airlines — China’s largest privately owned commercial air carrier — filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation to begin flights between McCarran International Airport and Beijing Capital International Airport in December, the airline announced.

Hainan Airline’s service to Beijing is the second nonstop trans-Pacific route connecting Las Vegas with Asia. Korean Air flies four times a week between McCarran and Seoul, South Korea.

Hainan will fly the Beijing route three times a week on 213-seat twin-engine Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets, the second international carrier to use the newest addition to the Boeing fleet in service to Las Vegas. Norwegian Air also flies the 787, lauded by many as one of the most comfortable jets in the sky, on its international routes.

Hainan Vice President Hou Wei, who has worked on establishing the Las Vegas route for two years, said Las Vegas has become a top tourist destination for Chinese travelers because of the vibrancy, excitement and culture of the city.


“Las Vegas’ investment in hotels, shops and attractions that are geared toward Chinese travelers ensure that Chinese visitors will continue to come to Las Vegas and support this economy,” Hou said.

New reciprocal 10-year tourist visas and “China ready” programs have helped resorts to develop amenities geared to Chinese visitors. Highlighting the increased cultural exchange, the announcement Thursday at the Cromwell featured a video of dragon dancing filmed by the Las Vegas Lohan School of Shaolin.


The three-times-a-week schedule means “tremendous growth” for the Las Vegas economy, said Rossi Ralenkotter, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Chinese tourists are among the fastest-growing and largest-spending groups of international travelers to Las Vegas.

“Right now we get about 170,000 Chinese visitors a year, which is over $200 million in economic impact,” Ralenkotter said. A convenient nonstop travel opportunity to Las Vegas means visitors begin their stay in Vegas, and spend more money here.

“International visitors stay longer. Many of them — when they come to the United States — they’ll spend ten, 12, 15 days,” Ralenkotter said, adding that the direct flight also provides an opportunity for Vegas to compete directly for the Chinese market.

The millions of dollars that are dropped in the city will translate to an economic boost.

Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak said the boost in tourism from China will create jobs in Southern Nevada.

“It keeps heads in beds,” he said. “The money circulates over and over again. Ultimately it gets into our education system, our parks, our police force, all those sorts of things that make it a better community for all of us.”

Clark County Director of Aviation Rosemary Vassiliadis said Vegas can expect a “tremendous” increase in visitation with the new nonstop flight.

“We know how high the demand has been. It’s the most populous country in the world and, Las Vegas being the No. 1 destination in the world, it’s just a perfect fit,” she said.

The new route is part of Hainan’s large-scale expansion of flights to and from North America. The airline already flies routes between Beijing and Seattle; Boston; San Jose, California; Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport; Calgary, Alberta; and Toronto, Ontario. It also has flights between Los Angeles International and Changsha, and Seattle and Boston to Shanghai.

“Hainan’s award-winning service and elite experience complement the dynamism and vibrancy of Las Vegas,” Hou said. “This is a further reflection of our long-term commitment to our customers in China and the U.S.”

There were indications earlier this year that Hainan’s announcement was coming.

In April, the Civil Aviation Administration of China approved Hainan’s’ request to fly three round trips a week between Beijing and Las Vegas beginning in September. The airline is then required to take the request to the U.S. Department of Transportation for approval. That’s the step that was announced Thursday.

When an airline files an application, the department establishes public comment periods of either 15 or 21 days. The Department of Transportation then weighs several factors in determining whether the application is in the public interest.

The timing of an approval is driven by whether there are responses filed to the application or if the application involves any bilateral agreements between the affected countries. For example, when Hainan filed for authority to serve Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport from Beijing in June 2013, there were no objections filed and the application was approved one month later.

Flights between Las Vegas and Beijing will begin Dec. 2 once the Department of Transportation approves the route, which is expected to be a formality.

Hainan will fly Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, leaving McCarran at 12:30 p.m., arriving in Beijing at 5:30 p.m., the next day. Return flights will leave Capital Airport at 2:20 p.m., and arrive in Las Vegas at 10:30 a.m., the same day because the flight crosses the international dateline.

The eastbound flight takes about 12 hours and the westbound flight 13 hours. The airline’s business class seats feature lie-flat beds.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at or 702-477-3893. Find him on Twitter: @RickVelotta. Contact Nicole Raz at or 702-380-4512. Find @JournalistNikki on Twitter.

Lehman Brothers bet big on Las Vegas
Lehman Brothers collapsed 10 years ago, helping send the country into the Great Recession.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Ross & Snow launches in Las Vegas
Luxury shoe brand Ross & Snow has opened in Las Vegas, featuring "functional luxury" with premium shearling footwear. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remote Identification and Drones
DJI vice president of policy and public affairs discusses using remote identification on drones. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Drones and public safety in Nevada
Two representatives in the drone industry discuss UAV's impact on public safety. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Frontier Airlines to launch flights from Las Vegas to Mexico
Frontier, a Denver-based ultra-low-cost carrier, will become the first airline in more than a decade to offer international service to Canada and Mexico from Las Vegas when flights to Cancun and Los Cabos begin Dec. 15. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren addresses Oct. 1 lawsuits
MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren addresses criticism his company has received for filing a lawsuit against the survivors of the Oct. 1 shooting. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International opens the doors on MGM Springfield
Massachusetts’ first hotel-casino opens in downtown Springfield. The $960 million MGM Springfield has 252 rooms and 125,000-square-feet of casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International prepares to open MGM Springfield
Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International gave news media and invited guests a preview of the $960 million MGM Springfield casino in Massachusetts. The commonwealth's first resort casino will open Friday, Aug. 24. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A Walk Through Circus Circus
It only takes a short walk through Circus Circus to realize it attracts a demographic like no other casino on the Strip: families with young children. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Morphy Auctions, a vintage slot machines seller, wants gaming license
Vice president Don Grimmer talks about Morphy Auctions at the company's warehouse located at 4520 Arville Street in Las Vegas on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada's venture capital money doesn't stay in state
Zach Miles, associate vice president for economic development for UNLV, said there’s venture money in Southern Nevada, “but trying to find the right groups to tap into for that money is different.” According to a 2017 report from the Kauffman Foundation, Las Vegas ranked number 34 out of 40 metropolitan areas for growth entrepreneurship, a metric of how much startups grow. With a lack of growing startups in Las Vegas, investment money is being sent outside of state borders. The southwest region of the U.S. received $386 million in funding in the second quarter, with about $25.2 million in Nevada. The San Francisco area alone received about $5.6 billion. (source: CB Insights)
Neon wraps can light up the night for advertising
Vinyl wrap company 5150 Wraps talks about neon wraps, a new technology that the company believes can boost advertising at night. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nevada on the forefront of drone safety
Dr. Chris Walach, senior director of Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, talks to a reporter at NIAS's new Nevada Drone Center for Excellence of Public Safety, located inside the Switch Innevation Center in Las Vegas. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
Motel 8 on south Strip will become site of hotel-casino
Israeli hoteliers Asher Gabay and Benny Zerah bought Motel 8 on the south Strip for $7.4 million, records show. They plan to bulldoze the property and build a hotel-casino. Motel 8 was built in the 1960s and used to be one of several roadside inns on what's now the south Strip. But it looks out of place today, dwarfed by the towering Mandalay Bay right across the street.
Project billed as one of the world's largest marijuana dispensaries plans to open Nov. 1
Planet 13 co-CEO Larry Scheffler talks about what to expect from the new marijuana dispensary, Thursday, July 19, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Oasis Biotech opens in Las Vegas
Brock Leach, chief operating officer of Oasis Biotech, discusses the new plant factory at its grand opening on July 18. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV Tech Park innovation building breaks ground
Construction on the first innovation building at the UNLV Tech Park is underway. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caesars Forum Meeting Center
Caesars broke ground Monday on its $375 million Caesars Forum Meeting Center (convention center) just east of the High Roller observation wheel. (Caesars Entertainment)
Technology reshapes the pawn shop industry
Devin Battersby attaches a black-colored device to the back of her iPhone and snaps several of the inside and outside of a Louis Vuitton wallet. The device, installed with artificial intelligence capabilities, analyzes the images using a patented microscopic technology. Within a few minutes, Battersby receives an answer on her app. The designer item is authentic.
Recreational marijuana has been legal in Nevada for one year
Exhale Nevada CEO Pete Findley talks about the one year anniversary of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Nevada. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Young adults aren't saving for retirement
Financial advisors talk about saving trends among young adults. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Celebrity photographer dedicates dance book to Las Vegas shooting victims
Behind the scenes with local celebrity photographer Jerry Metellus as he talks about his Dance For Vegas coffee book dedicated to the 58 victims of the October 1 shooting. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Dreamsickle Kids Foundation founder Gina Glass talks awareness
Gina Glass, 35, founded Dreamsickle Kids Foundation to raise awareness for sickle cell disease in Nevada. (Jessie Bekker/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Meadows School founding kindergarten teacher retires after 34 years at the school
Linda Verbon, founder of the The Meadows School's kindergarten program and the first faculty member hired at the school, retired in the spring after 34 years at The Meadows. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kids become firefighters at Fire Station 98 open house
Henderson residents wore fire hats, learned about CPR and met firefighters at the Fire Station 98 open house Saturday, August 11, 2018. (Marcus Villagran Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
People from all over the world attend RollerCon 2018
RollerCon 2018 is a five-day convention focused on the roller derby community and culture at Westgate in Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Camp Broadway teaches kids how to sing and dance
The Smith Center's seventh annual Camp Broadway musical theater program gives 150 kids ages 6-17 an opportunity to learn musical theater skills from industry professionals over a five-day period. Marcus Villagran/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @brokejournalist
Las Vegas police officer on being PETA's Sexiest Vegan Next Door
Las Vegas police officer David Anthony talks vegan lifestyle and how he feels about being voted PETA's sexiest Vegan next door from his home on Monday, July 9, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like