Air China has confirmed plans to upgrade its operations on its route between Beijing and New York as its expansion across North America continues. The Asian flag carrier is to increase the frequency of its flights on the route from a daily schedule to eleven rotations per week from March 31, 2013, at the same time introducing its new Boeing 777-300ERs into this market. Air China has already revealed its plans to expand capacity in other North American markets during 2013 and to launch flights to Houston, its first new destination in the Americas in a number of years.
"Adding new flights is a response to a consistently growing passenger demand for more convenient non-stop services between New York and Beijing. Business or leisure travelers bound for Beijing or onward to domestic Chinese cities and other destinations in Asia such as Hong Kong, Vietnam, India, the Philippines, Thailand and many others, stand to benefit the most from Air China's increased capacity and convenient connecting flights," said Yuelong Zhou , Air China's General Manager in New York, said.
Air China’s introduction of the 777-300ER on the New York service will bring more standardisation to its North American operation and will also boost efficiency through the operation of a twin-engined aircraft, replacing a four-engined 747-400. The Star Alliance member’s 777-300ERs are configured with eight seats in its Forbidden Pavilion First Class product, 41 full-flat bed seats in the Capital Pavilion (Business Class) and 259 economy seats. This will mean a 57.7 per cent increase in seat capacity each week when the aircraft switch is made.
"Operating the New York - Beijing flight with the new 'triple seven' provides Air China with a significant advantage in the highly competitive New York market. It shows our commitment to provide air travelers with the best product from John F Kennedy International Airport to Beijing. I'm sure our guests will appreciate the features of the energy-efficient Boeing 777-300ER," said Zhou.
Air China is the only airline with non-stop services between New York and Beijing and is the only operator with a first class offering between these two cities. In the past 12 months an estimated 189,000 bi-directional O&D passengers travelled on the route with Air China holding a 68 per cent share of the traffic.
This announcement follows the recent approval from the US Department of Transportation to start four weekly non-stop services between Houston and Beijing on July 11, 2013 using the B777-300ER. Houston is Air China's fifth gateway in North America in addition to New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver. The Los Angeles - Beijing service, operated with the B777-300ER, will resume its double daily flights on March 31, 2013. Vancouver - Beijing is scheduled to increase from seven to eleven flights per week on May 17, 2013, while the San Francisco - Beijing daily operation will see a switch from a 747-400 Combi to a full passenger configured jet from March 31, 2013.
Speaking exclusively to The HUB on the sidelines of the Routes Americas Strategy Summit in Cartagena, Colombia, Di Zhihang Chi outlined further details of Air China’s network development in North America, including its strategy for further growth and what the latest delay in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner could mean for the carrier, a customer for the type. You can hear what he had to say in our exclusive Routes TV video.
To see more exclusive video content from Routes Americas 2013 visit Routes TV.