China Air resumes flights to OR Tambo International following Covid hiatus

China Air is back in South African skies. Picture: Unsplash

China Air is back in South African skies. Picture: Unsplash

Published Mar 31, 2023


China Air has resumed weekly flights between South Africa’s OR Tambo International Airport and China following a three-year hiatus.

The last flights were before Covid, which affected direct flight travel between the two countries.

The MEC for Gauteng Economic Development, Tasneem Motara, welcomed back Air China as it resumes its weekly flights to OR Tambo International Airport.

According to the MEC, the Beijing-Shenzhen- Johannesburg flight three times per week, is significant because it is back to its pre-Covid schedule after three years.

He said that the flights would also restore the economic ties that benefited from the flights between the two cities.

China is one of Gauteng’s important markets for trade, investment and business and leisure visitors. Pre-Covid visitor numbers were at 120 000. South Africa is one of the first 20 markets the People’s Republic of China has re-opened after the pandemic.

According to Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), every long-haul air service potentially supports 3000 direct and indirect jobs, with a 10% increase in passenger volumes resulting in 2% economic growth.

Motara said that the re-establishment of the flights between China and South Africa is also significant because it’s happening four months before South Africa hosts the 2023 BRICS Summit, which will take place in August.

“China and South Africa have a long history that has benefited both countries in areas such as business, education, health care, arts and culture, and tourism. In January, we celebrated 25 years of diplomatic ties. We hope that the flights will also translate to more economic opportunities, especially for young entrepreneurs,” says MEC Motara.

The Air China Airbus A350 accommodates 300-350 passengers. In addition, China is South Africa’s largest trading partner, with 9.7% of total exports going to the country.

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