South African Airways (SAA) will start flying non-stop to Beijing, China, for the first time in the history of the airline, from January next year.
The inaugural flight is scheduled to leave Johannesburg, South Africa, on 31 January, and is set to arrive in Beijing, China, on 1 February. SAA says passenger may begin booking these flights immediately.
“SAA is most pleased to introduce non-stop flights to Beijing, China. This new route is in line with SAA’s strategy to expand its network to Asia, the fastest growing market in the world,” said SAA’s CEO Siza Mzimela.
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. 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,” saidMzimela.
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 northeast of Beijing’s city centre, owned and operated by the Beijing Capital International Airport Company Limited, 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.
Flying time between Johannesburg and Beijing, the capital of the People’s Republic of China, takes almost 15 hours.