First SAA non-stop Beijing flight departs
South African Airways (SAA) on Tuesday morning debuted its non-stop route to the capital of the People's Republic of China, Beijing.
The flight departed from OR Tambo International Airport at 00:20.
The flight was the first of three new weekly frequencies between SA and the Chinese capital. The route's introduction follows a comprehensive strategic partnership forged between the two countries in August last year.
“The introduction of aviation links between nations nurtures economic activity, with domestic and regional benefit within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) expected to pay dividends both in terms of trade and tourism,” said ,” said SAA CEO Siza Mzimela.
Mzimela also believes that substantial demand for tourism and trade to China will contribute to the success of the new route. China is one of SA's largest trade partners.
The Johannesburg-Beijing route will also contribute significantly in establishing SA as an aviation hub between South America and China, linking three of the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and SA).
“We believe that the route will play a strategic role in the growing economic relationships and dependencies between the continents. Commercially, SAA is able to deliver seamless travel from Sao Paolo via Johannesburg to Beijing, servicing all three continents,” said Mzimela.
SAA will operate its Airbus A340-600 long-haul aircraft on the route, non-stop with flying time clocking in at approximately 15 hours. - I-Net Bridge