Air China executive on maintaining U.S. flying: 'Somebody has to do it'
03/18/2020|6:13:49 PM|Travel Weekly

Though U.S. carriers have suspended all services to China due to the Covid-19 virus, a few Chinese carriers continue to connect the two countries with limited schedules. One is the Chinese flag carrier Air China, which has offered no fewer than seven weekly flights to the U.S. throughout the crisis and is now seeing a temporary surge in demand as conditions worsen here and improve in China. 

Air China had service in San Francisco, L.A., New York, [Washington] Dulles, Newark and Houston, but it dropped the Newark and Houston operation when the coronavirus hit.

The Beijing-based carrier, which operates Boeing 777-300ERs to hold about 310 people, has an average load factor of around 50% to 60%. While going back to China is a whole lot better than coming to the United States as Chinese nationals are banned from coming.

"We are losing money. There is not an iota of doubt. But being the flag carrier of China, somebody has to do it, quite frankly. The air links between these two very important countries can’t afford to be stopped. I don’t think there is anybody better to do that than Air China." said Mr. Zhihang Chi, Air China’s vice president and general manager for North America.

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