Direct flight to sister province of Guangdong . . .
Nova Scotia’s Premier Stephen McNeil announced yesterday that China Southern Airlines will launch a test of a direct charter flight from Guangzhou to Halifax in September 2020. McNeil said he expects the test flights will prove their worth and hopes to see the connection increase to twice a month between May and October. Given competition with Canadian national carriers, however, transforming it into a regularly scheduled flight could prove complicated.
Answering the business call . . .
Many Atlantic Canada-based businesses have long been citing a lack of transportation routes to Asia as an impediment to trade diversification, and business and tourism growth. This new flight, if sustained, could hit two birds with one stone. First, it could help Nova Scotia meet its goal of attracting 50,000 Chinese tourists by 2024, an ambitious 900 per cent increase from 2018, which would require 185 full flights from China per year. Second, return flights to China could be loaded with lobster, a commodity that has seen significant export growth since 2010 and is booming even more so because of the U.S.-China trade war. Beyond the tasty crustacean, these flights could also benefit businesses looking to export high-value goods from luxury clothing, wines, agri-foods, as well as international students.
Provinces stepping up . . .
Canadian provinces have a lot of flexibility and autonomy to operate on the world stage. And most provincial activity internationally since the 1970s has focused on Asia. As Nova Scotia has shown, provincial internationalism need not follow national trends. While the federal government has been caught up in political tensions with China, Nova Scotia has been steadily acting on its 2016 China Strategy to boost trade, tourism, and international students. McNeil has led nine trade missions to China since taking office in 2013 and leveraged the province’s 2018 sister province relationship with Guangdong to make this new flight a reality.
- CBC News: Nova Scotia secures 2 direct charter flights from China
- The Chronicle Herald: Chinese airline to start direct charter flights to Halifax next fall
- True North Far East: How China saved Canada's lobster industry