Hainan Airlines Co. is doubling its investment in Boston.
China’s largest private airline said Wednesday it intends to launch three nonstop trips weekly between Boston and Shanghai. Hainan also plans to increase its Beijing route to daily service.
The Shanghai service will be the first nonstop flight offered between Logan International Airport and the Chinese city when it begins on June 20. It will also mark Hainan’s first nonstop route from Shanghai to an airport in the United States.
“We have a vibrant and engaging Chinese community here in the commonwealth,” said Governor Charlie Baker at a press conference at the State House. “Our opportunity to expand service to fly direct to Shanghai, in addition to the flights that are being added to Beijing, is a tribute quite frankly to the role and the importance of this community.”
The carrier launched Logan’s first nonstop connection to China last June with four flights a week to Beijing. Pubin Liang, Hainan’s managing director of North America, said planes along the route are flying at an average of 90 percent of capacity, which led the airline to decide to increase the frequency on May 1.
The Massachusetts Port Authority, which runs Logan, said 73,000 passengers traveled between Boston and Shanghai last year. That made Boston the largest travel market in the U.S. without nonstop service to the Chinese city. Officials expect a mix of people in the medical, educational and other business fields, as well as leisure travelers, to frequent the route.
To start, the airline will fly two Boeing 787 Dreamliners, which carry 222 passengers, along the route.
The 15 hour and 10 minute flight will depart Boston at 4:35 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and land at Shanghai Pudong Airport at 7:45 p.m. the following day. The return flight, which will run 14 hours and 40 minutes, leaves Shanghai at 11:55 a.m. and arrive in Boston at 2:35 p.m. the same day.
Liang said Hainan hopes to ramp up to daily flights to Shanghai in the near future. The airline’s partnership with JetBlue will help fill planes with travelers connecting through Boston to other cities along the East Coast and Canada.
The flight also comes with a few perks. In both Boston and Shanghai, “premium passengers” can book a complementary car service to the airport. The planes include 34 business class seats, which recline into fully flat beds and come with duvet covers, pajamas, and slippers for passengers.Taryn Luna can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @TarynLuna.