DENMARK. State-owned Air China has opened its first route between Copenhagen Airport and Beijing. The move is likely to have a positive impact on store spending at the Nordic hub where Gebr Heinemann is the core duty free retailer.

The new route follows last year’s Danish-Chinese Tourism Year which saw extraordinary efforts to market Denmark to the Chinese and communicate its attractions to tourists beyond the capital – Copenhagen.

“The new Air China route brings Denmark and China closer together,” said Minister for Industry, Business and Financial Affairs Brian Mikkelsen (second from left)

According to Copenhagen Airport operator, Copenhagen Airports, these efforts “are now starting to show concrete results in the form of significantly improved flight connections”. More than 110,000 Chinese came to Denmark via the airport in 2017.

With the initial four weekly departures on Air China’s new route, there are now 11 weekly flights to Beijing. In addition, Air China’s Star Alliance partner SAS flies to Shanghai, while Cathay Pacific has just opened a route from Hong Kong to Copenhagen.

Building services for PRC travellers

Copenhagen Airport has already geared itself up for more Chinese visitors, according to Copenhagen Airports CEO Thomas Woldbye. “As well as having Chinese guides and signs in the airport, and a Chinese version of our app, we’re collaborating with DianPing, China’s answer to TripAdvisor,” he said. “Our stores are working with payment provider Nets to offer Chinese passengers the opportunity to pay via Alipay, a payment app used by more than 500 million Chinese.”

Copenhagen Airport’s shopping centre concession revenue rose by +4.2% year-on-year in the first three months of 2018 to reach DKK192.8 million (US$34.5 million), helped by intercontinental traffic development. “We’ve worked hard to expand our long-haul network,” said Woldbye.

The new route is likely to have a positive impact on store spending at Copenhagen Airport

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony at gate C37, Minister for Industry, Business and Financial Affairs Brian Mikkelsen said: “Air China’s new Copenhagen-Beijing route will give Chinese passengers even more convenient access to Denmark as a tourist destination. The route is helping to pave the way for – hopefully – even more Chinese hotel nights in Denmark in the years ahead.”

Air China Denmark General Manager Andy Hao commented: “This new route will give tourists and business travellers better opportunities and strengthen the cooperation between our two nations.”