Just a little over a year after the inauguration of the direct connection between the two capitals, the Beijing Capital Airlines company, belonging to the HNA group, decided to suspend this connection for "operational reasons." From October 15 onward, travelers will have to return to "traditional" stopovers for long-haul flights.
"We confirm the suspension of the flights between Lisbon and Beijing, beginning on October 15 and ending in March," Beijing Capital Airlines informed at the end of August, but did not specify the reasons for that decision. The Chinese company only claims "operational reasons."
This decision puts an end - albeit with a planned deadline of five months - to the only direct air link between Lisbon and Beijing, that until October 15 took place three times a week. The end of this route implies that passengers need to make stops between several flights and companies while in transit between the two cities.
Having had an average flight occupancy rate of 80% in the off-peak months and above 95% in the high season in the first year since it started flying to Portugal, Beijing Capital Airlines has transported more than 80,000 passengers, according to data released in July this year.
According to data released in the presentation of its annual results, Capital Airlines is one of the subsidiaries of the Chinese group HNA, which faces a serious liquidity crisis, after closing last year with a debt of 598 billion yuan (about 77 billion euros).
Plataforma contacted the company for further clarification and has not received any response so far.