Hainan Airlines launches Oslo belly route adding further seafood capacity

The rapidly expanding Norwegian seafood market has been given a further boost after Hainan Arlines announced it will start a new three-weekly Airbus A330-300 belly route from Beijing and Oslo in Spring 2019 – the first direct connection between China and Norway.

Demand for Norwegian seafood has taken off in recent years, with 2017 breaking all records. The new route between Oslo and Beijing means that Norwegian fish will arrive even fresher in the shops and restaurants in the Chinese capital and the surrounding areas.

Norway stands for half of all the air cargo generated in the Nordic region. In 2017, Oslo Airport was the fastest growing cargo airport in Europe with a 36 per cent growth. Some 185,000 tonnes where flown in and out of the airport, with 90,000 being seafood.

In 2018, Norwegian seafood as air cargo is expected to reach 230,000 tonnes. Oslo Airport is the largest freighter airport in Northern Europe with 14 freighter carriers serving the gateway weekly.

Avinor director of cargo, Martin Langaas said: “A direct route to China will be extremely positive for the export of fresh Norwegian seafood to the quickly expanding Chinese market. Fresh fish has a short shelf-life, and faster transport times will help ensure the products’ quality.”

Hainan Airlines vice president, Liu Jichun said: “The coming new route of Beijing to Oslo is the first direct route between China and Norway operated by Chinese carrier Hainan Airlines.

“These efforts have gained Hainan Airlines with an optimized network between China and Europe. This new route will certainly intensify the communications between the two countries, thus stimulating the development of a prosperous economic tie for China and Norway, as well as the Nordic region.”

In August, Ethiopian Cargo revealed plans to start a ‘seafood freighter’ service using a Boeing 777-200 Freighter from Oslo Airport to Guangzhou in China in September this year while the likes of Saudia Cargo and DHL have also started freighter services to meet demand for Norwegian seafood.