The Flag of China painted onto the side of a Boeing 747-400. Air China is the only flag carrier of China.
Air China Limited (simplified Chinese: 中国国际航空公司; traditional Chinese: 中國國際航空公司; literally: "China International Airlines Company", colloquially known as 国航/國航, SEHK: 0753, LSE: AIRC, SSE: 601111) is the flag carrier and one of the major airlines of the People's Republic of China, with its headquarters in Shunyi District, Beijing.
Air China's flight operations are based out of Beijing Capital International Airport.
The enterprise logo of Air China consists of an artistic phoenix pattern, the name of the airline written in calligraphy by former national leader Deng Xiaoping, and “AIR CHINA” in English. The phoenix logo is also the artistic transfiguration of the word “VIP”. Air China is a member of the Star Alliance.
In 2013, Air China carried 51 million domestic and international passengers with an average load factor of 81%.
Food in economy class on Air China's aircraft
Air China was established and commenced operations on 1 July 1988 as a result of the Chinese government's decision in late 1987 to split the operating divisions of Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) into six separate airlines: Air China, China Eastern, China Southern, China Northern, China Southwest, and China Northwest. Air China was given chief responsibility for intercontinental flights and took over the CAAC's long haul aircraft (Boeing 747s, 767s, and 707s) and routes.
In January 2001, the former CAAC's ten airlines agreed on a merger plan, according to which Air China was to acquire China Southwest Airlines. Before the acquisition, Air China was the country's fourth largest domestic airline. The merger created a group with assets of 56 billion Yuan (USD $8.63 billion), and a fleet of 118 aircraft. In October 2002, Air China consolidated with the China National Aviation Corporation and China Southwest Airlines.
On 15 December 2004, Air China was successfully listed on the Hong Kong and London Stock Exchanges. The airline also listed its shares on the Shanghai Stock Exchange on 18 August 2006.
In 2006, Air China signed an agreement to join the Star Alliance. It became a member of the alliance on 12 December 2007 alongside Shanghai Airlines.
In July 2009, Air China acquired $19.3 million of shares from its troubled subsidiary Air Macau, lifting its stake in the carrier from 51% to 80.9%. One month later, Air China spent HK$6.3 billion (USD $813 million) to raise its stake in Cathay Pacific from 17.5% to 30%, expanding its presence in Hong Kong.
In April 2010, Air China completed the increase of shareholdings in Shenzhen Airlines and became the controlling shareholder of Shenzhen Airlines, allowing Air China to further enhance its position in Beijing, Chengdu, and Shanghai as well as achieve a more balanced domestic network.
On 2 December 2010, Air China received Spain's highest tourism industry award, the "Plaque for Tourist Merit". Air China was the first foreign airline to receive the award, which is given to organisations and individuals contributing to the Spanish tourism industry.
On 23 December 2010, Air China became the first Chinese airline to offer combined tickets that include domestic flights and shuttle bus services to nearby cities. The first combined flight-shuttle bus ticket connected Tianjin via shuttle bus with domestic flights passing through Beijing.
Air China began offering Wi-Fi internet service on board its aircraft on 15 November 2011, making it the first Chinese carrier to offer this service.
In 2012, after pressure from PETA, Air China stated that it would no longer transport monkeys to laboratories. PETA welcomed the airline’s announcement.
In 2012 Air China launched a Facebook campaign in collaboration with Asian restaurants in Sweden, where participants could check in using their smartphones and win a flight to Beijing.
On July 3, 2013 in time for the company's 25th anniversary, Air China successfully tested Wireless LAN in flight. It was the first global satellite Internet flight in Mainland China.
In early 2015 it was announced that the airline had selected the Boeing 737 Next Generation and 737 MAX for its fleet renewal programme of 60 aircraft. The deal, with a value of over $6b at current list prices, has yet to be finalised.
Air China HQ Building
The entity Air China Limited was registered in 2003, and its shares began trading in Hong Kong and London on December 15, 2004. Originally the airline corporate entity was Air China International, which was founded 2002 Air China International incorporated China Southwest Airlines and the air transportation services of the China National Aviation Company, becoming a new entity.
The Air China HQ Building (S: 国航总部大楼, T: 國航總部大樓, P: Guó Háng Zǒngbù Dàlóu), the corporate headquarters, is located in Zone A of the Tianzhu Airport Industrial Zone (S: 天竺空港工业区, T: 天竺空港工業區, P: Tiānzhú Kōng Gǎng Gōngyèqū) in Shunyi District, Beijing. The company registered office is on the ninth floor of the Blue Sky Mansion (S: 蓝天大厦, T: 藍天大廈, P: Lántiān Dàshà), also in Zone A of the Tianzhu Airport Industrial Zone.
Main article: Air China destinations
Air China destinations
Air China's route network extends throughout Asia to the Middle East, Western Europe, and North America from its main hub at Beijing Capital International Airport. It also currently reaches a significant number of Asian, Australian and European destinations from Shanghai. Some international routes operate from Chengdu, Chongqing, Dalian, Hangzhou, Kunming and Xiamen.
On 10 December 2006, Air China began serving its first South American destination, São Paulo-Guarulhos (via Madrid-Barajas). This was the airline's longest direct flight. The service was initiated with a Boeing 767-300ER, but due to increased demand, the service has been upgraded to an Airbus A330-200.
Air China introduced its new Airbus A330-300 to long-haul operations beginning with services to Düsseldorf, Germany in summer 2011. These aircraft provided the same two-class cabin standard as the Airbus A330-200 except that the economy cabin had no seat-back entertainment system installed (with the exception of the first two economy rows which also had increased legroom). Düsseldorf is now the third German destination on the Air China network. The airline launched a new Beijing-Milan-Malpensa service on 15 June 2011, complementing the airline's existing service to Milan from Shanghai.
Deliveries of the carrier's 19 new Boeing 777-300ERs commenced in mid-2011, with the aircraft forming the new "backbone of its future longhaul operations". The new Boeing 777-300ERs replaced the Boeing 747–400s on routes to U.S. destinations such as Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, but was expected to first enter service on flights to Paris from March 2012. The Boeing 777-300ER began to replace most 747 service once sufficient numbers entered the fleet. Air China expanded its operations in India with a Beijing-Mumbai route begun in September 2011, while the existing Delhi route was upgraded to the A330. The airline also launched service to Mumbai from Chengdu on 2 May 2012. The airline began using the Boeing 777-300ER on one of its two daily Beijing-Los Angeles flights on 1 February 2012. Beginning in late-2012 to early 2013, the airline will replace the Boeing 747-400s currently servicing the New York and San Francisco routes with the Boeing 777-300ER. With the addition of the Boeing 777-300ERs on the US routes, Air China increased frequency on the Beijing-New York route, changing the flights from 7 to 11 flights a week by adding two new airlines to the route (CA989/990). On 21 January 2014, the airline launched its service to Hawaii with flights from Beijing to Honolulu, the first nonstop flights between the two cities. The airline also increased the frequency of service on the Beijing-Houston Intercontinental route from four times weekly to daily service from 30 March 2014. Beginning 10 June 2014, Air China introduced new nonstop service from Beijing to Washington-Dulles, operated by a Boeing 777-300ER