South African Airways (SAA) will start flying non-stop to Beijing, China, for the first time from January 2012.
The inaugural flight is scheduled to leave Johannesburg, South Africa, on Tuesday 31st January.
“SAA is pleased to introduce non-stop flights to Beijing, China,” said SAA chief executive Siza Mzimela.
“This new route is in line with SAA’s strategy to expand its network to Asia, the fastest growing market in the world.”
China and South Africa established a comprehensive strategic partnership in August last year.
The countries subsequently entered into bilateral agreements for cooperation on infrastructure construction, transportation, water resources utilisation, housing, health and education.
The introduction of non-stop flights between the two destinations promises to facilitate business and leisure travel between the two countries.
“Introducing direct flights between China and South Africa will promote tourism and trade, not only to South Africa, but also to all the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and other African countries,” added Mzimela.
“South Africa and neighbouring destinations such as Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe are already popular destinations for Chinese tourists.
“Similarly, for South Africans and other African countries, the flight will open up China as a new tourist destination and create a bridge between South America and China, connecting three very important BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries and promoting trade amongst these countries.”
Beijing Capital International Airport (BJS) is the main international airport serving Beijing, China and one of the busiest airports in the world.
It is located 32 kilometres north-east of Beijing’s city centre, owned and operated by the Beijing Capital International Airport Company, a state-controlled company.
There are three terminals at the airport and SAA will operate in and out of terminal three, which is also the designated terminal for Star Alliance partners.
SAA will operate the route non-stop three times a week with its A340-600 long haul aircraft.
South African Airways is considered Africa’s Leading Airline by the prestigious World Travel Awards.