New services to Africa extend Air China’s global coverage to six continents
Air China announced the launch of two new routes to Africa– Beijing-Johannesburg inaugurating on October 29 and Beijing-Addis Abba launching on November 2.
Air China announced the launch of two new routes to Africa– Beijing-Johannesburg inaugurating on October 29 and Beijing-Addis Abba launching on November 2. With these new routes, it will become the first Chinese carrier to have services covering six continents – Asia, Europe, North America, South America, Africa and Oceania.
Johannesburg and Addis Abba are major cities in southern and eastern Africa. “We are very confident about our new African services, especially our South African service. China has over 100 companies operating in South Africa. Along with local ethnic Chinese, the carrier will have a steady customer pool of 500,000-600,000 people,” Air China’s marketing director Zhigang He said.
China and Africa has significant trade links. China’s custom data show that the value of import and export between China and Africa reached a record US$221.88 billion in 2014, up 5.5% y-o-y.
China Southern Airlines is the only Chinese carrier operating direct flights to Africa at the moment, after Hainan Airlines ended its various Africa-bound services earlier and South African Airways suspended its Beijing-Johannesburg service in March. The operating right for the Beijing-Johannesburg route is now picked up by Air China.
Air China will serve the Beijing-Johannesburg route with three flights a week using its key long-haul aircraft, B777-300ER, and the Beijing-Addis Abba service will be operated three flights a week using the wide-bodied Airbus 330-200 airliner.
“Air China will accelerate the development of an international air route network radiating from our Beijing hub in 2015. This will be a record year in terms of new routes launched, as we will be launched more than 10 new international air routes this year,” Air China’s vice president Mingyuan Wang said.
The new routes introduced this year include Beijing-Minsk-Budapest, Beijing-Melbourne, Beijing-Hakodate, Beijing-Montreal as well as Chengdu-Colombo. More new international services are on the drawing board.
“The new routes will consolidate the hub status of Beijing as an Asian and global air hub. Chengdu will also see more international services as a regional hub, with the launch of new services from Chengdu to Osaka, Tokyo and Paris,” an Air China spokesperson said.（Translation by David）