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Travel to the heart of Asia and onwards with Air China, the flag carrier of the People’s Republic of China.
One of China’s ‘Big Three’ airline carriers, Air China is based in Beijing Capital International Airport with hubs in Shanghai and Chengdu.
Air China was first established in 1988, when it was allocated a share of the Chinese aviation market and inherited the intercontinental routes and a fleet of aging Boeing 747s, 767s and 707s. In 2002, a further reorganisation of China’s aviation industry resulted in Air China consolidating with China National Aviation Corporation and China Southwest Airlines to create the existing organisation. During this period, Air China has concentrated on the budget travel market and repeatedly recorded solid profits.
Successive years have seen the airline upgrade both fleet and ground services. In 2006, Air China signed an agreement with Star Alliance, the world’s foremost airline alliance. Since then, Air China has been able to offer its passengers access to a global network enabling relatively seamless travel within the various member carriers and their frequent flyer programmes.
Air China’s Asian Hubs
Air China is headquartered in Beijing, with secondary hubs in Shanghai and Chengdu.
Beijing Capital International Airport is one of the world’s busiest ports and is continuing to experience major growth; forecasts estimate passenger numbers will reach 90 million per annum by 2012. Air China moved all its operations to Beijing Capital’s Terminal 3 in 2008, a move which enabled optimisation of its baggage handling and departure control systems. Other members of the Star Alliance are located in the enormous terminal (the world’s largest by land mass), facilitating flight transfers.
Shanghai Pudong International Airport is Air China’s second major hub and China’s busiest international airport, with roughly half of all passenger traffic being international. Air China and fellow Star Alliance airlines operate out of Shanghai’s Terminal 2.
China Airlines’ Southwest Branch operates out of Chengdu Shuangliu International airport. Chengdu has been under-going long-term renovation and upgrade. Its second terminal, due to come online in 2011, is twice the size of the current Terminal 1 and capable of handling the Airbus A380 and up to 35 million people annually.
Seamless connections with Star Alliance
Air China’s route network extends throughout the world: Asia, the Middle East, Western Europe, North America and Australia. It does not currently fly directly into New Zealand; seamless connections are achieved through its Star Alliance partnership and Air New Zealand for the trans-Tasman sector.
Daily services connect Sydney and Melbourne with Beijing: some flights are direct, others transit Shanghai. Flights via Hong Kong are also possible.
All flights out of Australia are on Air China’s new A330-200 aircraft. The Business Class offers excellent angled seating and the newer craft have the lie-flat option. Customer reviews have given increasing approval of both the catering and the service of Air China’s business class
Economy class seating is standard pitch and layout, however, Air China has been investing heavily in new aircraft and upgrades. As a result, their economy seating has improved greatly in past years with respect to leg-room, entertainment, service and catering.
The English-language skills of Air China’s cabin staff, particularly the younger employees, are greatly improved over recent years.
Travel in Style, with Pheonix Miles
Air China’s Pheonix Miles frequent flyer program is a familiar model. Members earn mileage points that accumulate and improve your benefits the more you travel. Points can be utilised with partner hotels, car hire companies, banking facilities and participating product promoters. As a member of the Star Alliance, Air China is closely aligned with partner airlines to build a global-spanning network that enables hassle-free travel and straightforward mileage accrual and redemption.
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