Shanghai Airlines has expanded a practice to broadcast greetings in the Shanghai dialect to 10 flights after a survey found most passengers like hearing it.
The welcome announcements can be heard on flights returning to Shanghai from Taiwan, Macau, Hong Kong, Kunming in southwest Yunnan Province, Haikou and Sanya on south Hainan Island, Guilin and Nanning in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region as well as Shenzhen and Guangzhou in south Guangdong Province from this month, said Jin Yun, Party secretary of the cabin service department with the airline.
Passengers can hear a pre-recorded male or female voice speaking in the local dialect after take-off and before landing. Safety introductions remain in English and Mandarin.
"We hope to create an atmosphere in the cabin to let passengers from Shanghai and other provinces as well as abroad feel they are coming to the city," Jin said.
The local dialect is featured by "soft, slow and pleasant tones," she added.
The airline invited Mao Shanyu, director of Shanghai Huju Theater and a well-known Huju Opera performer to record one of the broadcasts.
The carrier launched a trial operation in July to broadcast greetings in the local dialect on flights returning from Kunming and Taipei. Over 500 passengers were interviewed during the trial operation and 96 percent said they liked what they heard, the airline said.
"Local travelers, especially those who have taken a long voyage abroad, will feel warm when returning to their hometown upon hearing the Shanghai dialect," said Peng Lingzhen, one of the passengers surveyed.
The airline launched the practice amid increasing concerns that the number of local young speakers of the Shanghai dialect is dropping rapidly.
According to a survey from the Shanghai Statistics Bureau, more Shanghai residents can speak Mandarin than the local dialect.
At the annual session of Shanghai People's Congress this year, lawmakers urged authorities to promote Shanghainese.
"Local dialect is the blood of the city Shanghai, but most local children cannot speak the dialect nowadays," said Wang Rugang, who is both director of the Shanghai People's Farce Troupe and a legislator.