Third time’s the charm for Chinese tour operator U-Tour? According to website Pagtour U-Tour will launch new flights between Liege Airport and China. The first flight is scheduled to land at the Belgian airport on 24 April 2018, from Chengdu via Saint Petersburg1.
The next day Fuzhou-Liege is scheduled, with a stop in Moscow. Other flights are scheduled from the following cities: Taiyuan, Wuhan, Nanchang, Jinan, Zhengzhou, Guiyang. A total of 8 different cities, ranging from 3.5 million to more than 10 million inhabitants.
The flights will be operated by IrAero, an airline based in Irkutsk, Russia. It operates domestic and international scheduled passenger services, charter and cargo flights and is an IATA member. According to Planespotters.net the airline currently operates 5 Canadair CRJ-100/CRJ-200 and 9 Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft. Most likely the airline will add one (or two) long-haul aircraft to its fleet in the coming weeks.
Only last year VIM Airlines operated eight weekly flights between China and Liege (Wuhan, Xian, Shenyang, Changsha, Taiyuan, Zhengzhou, Qingdao and Fuzhou) but the Russian airline went into receivership after mismanagement. In 2016 U-Tour used to services of Russian airline I-Fly.
1 Due to traffic rights the airline needs to make a (short) stop in Russia, hence why IrAero lands at Saint Petersburg or Moscow.
Source: Les Chinois reviennent à Liège !