Air China announced at its 23 October press conference in Beijing that it will commence the Beijing-Johannesburg direct service on 29 October 2015. In attendance were Ms Rosemary Mashaba, Minister Plenipotentiary at the South African Embassy in China; Mr Wang Mingyuan, Vice President of Air China, Mr Mai Bo, Country Manager for China at South African Airways; and over 100 guests and media representatives. Air China is China’s national flag carrier and a member carrier of the world’s largest airline network – Star Alliance.
The City of Johannesburg, known colloquially as Joburg or Jozi, is the financial and commercial hub of South Africa and the African Continent. It is a cosmopolitan city, inhabited by significant numbers of expats as well as a large and vibrant youth culture; having a landscape featuring many high-rise buildings and new residential and commercial developments and is an important base for many of South Africa’s creative and cultural industries. The city is home to the Continent’s largest stock exchange, Africa’s biggest and busiest freight airport, as well as the largest inland port in Africa. Travellers to Joburg have numerous, air, road and rail links to all main cities and ports in South Africa, Africa and the rest of the world.
The launch of the Air China direct flight is an important development of South Africa -China relations, the two countries sharing a comprehensive strategic partnership agreement. China is also South Africa’s biggest trading partner in the world and South Africa is China’s biggest trading partner in Africa. In 2014, trade between the two countries reached ZAR 260 561 969 777. The Beijing–Johannesburg direct route service will more closely connect Asia and South Africa, helping both South African and Chinese companies, tourists,students and government representatives to further deepen business, government and people-to-people relations.
The new route will not only promote the development of trade and tourism between China and Africa, but also offers more flight options to travelers between Africa and other Asia Pacific regions including Japan, South Korea and Singapore.
At the press conference, the Embassy of South Africa expressed its congratulations to Air China for launching its new China-Africa routes. In her speech, Minister Mashaba remarked that this three-weekly, 14-hour direct flight between Beijing and Johannesburg on a comfortable Boeing 777-300 ER will take thousands and hopefully hundreds of thousands of Chinese and South Africans to visit each other’s country. This is not only a physical passage connecting two countries by air but also a way of connecting people, cultures and nationalities; an opportunity of growing business and employment; an potentially a means of eradicating inequality and poverty. For South Africa this direct air link is a tangible symbol of the value and depth of our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with China. Importantly, the launch coincides with the year of China in South Africa.
About the flight
The service, CA867/8, is operated on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday (Beijing toJohannesburg) and on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (Johannesburg to Beijing).The outbound flight from Beijing departs at 23:15 and arrives in Johannesburg at 07:35 the following day. The return flight departs Johannesburg at 11:40 local time and arrives in Beijing at 07:10, Beijing time. The flights will be operated with Boeing 777-300ER aircrafts which are popular with business travelers. Its First and Business Class sections are fitted with full-flat seats and a central bar. All classes of service offer personal AVOD, power outlets, accessible toilets for the disabled and mood lighting system which can mimic the light from sunrise to sunset, guaranteeing a truly pleasant journey for passengers.