Beijing-San Jose nonstop planned

Updated: 2015-02-18 11:53

By Chang Jun in San Jose(China Daily USA)

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Beijing-San Jose nonstop planned

Sam Liccardo, mayor of San Jose, California, announces a new Hainan Airlines flight between San Jose International and Beijing Capital International, starting on June 15. [Photo by Chang Jun / China Daily]

Air travelers will be able to fly nonstop between San Jose, California, and Beijing starting on June 15.

China's Hainan Airlines will debut five weekly flights - Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, on Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. The flight between San Jose International Airport (SJC) and Beijing Capital International Airport will offer 36 seats in business class and 177 seats in economy class.

"We're delighted to celebrate the announcement of Hainan Airlines' new direct service between Beijing and Silicon Valley," said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.

Calling the new flight "a significant milestone for a city and for a region", the mayor said he is hopeful that the route will foster exchanges between the world's two largest economies.

Hainan Airlines also announced on Monday that it plans to begin daily nonstop service from Sea-Tac International Airport to Shanghai starting on June 22.

Strong demand in the local community, especially in business circles, for more expanded air service between Silicon Valley and China has led to the new route, Liccardo said.

Beijing has been identified as a priority route from the greater San Jose region, which has significant business and family links to China. There are about 220,000 residents in the Silicon Valley who claim Chinese ethnicity, and Silicon Valley-based companies are operating in more than 500 locations throughout China.

San Jose officials and Silicon Valley business leaders have been in talks with Hainan Airlines since 2014 to discuss the benefits of a nonstop flight between Beijing and Silicon Valley, said Matthew Mahood, president and CEO of the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce.

"With the enthusiastic support demonstrated by our global technology corporations and hundreds of thousands of residents who routinely made travels to China, this new route will be a success," he said.

According to San Jose studies, the flight's economic impact for Silicon Valley is estimated to reach $105 million annually.

"We are grateful that Hainan Airlines are so committed to make such a huge investment in the Silicon Valley," Liccardo said.

Joel Chusid, executive director of Hainan Airlines (USA), said Flight 7990 will depart SJC at 1:10 pm and arrive in Beijing at 4:40 pm the following day. Flight 7989 will depart Beijing at 2:30 pm and arrive at SJC at 11:10 am the same day.

"We're confident our regional business and leisure travelers will respond favorably to this service," said Kim Becker Aguirre, SJC airport director.

In the Seattle area, Hainan Airlines will operate two-class Airbus A330-200 four days a week, with midday departure times, between Sea-Tac Airport and Shanghai. The new flight complements the carrier's existing nonstop service to Beijing, which will increase to daily on May 1.

Ji Chun Liu, director of Hainan's international department, said: "The community of interest and expanding trade between the state of Washington and China has grown this market exponentially, enhanced by the new reciprocal 10-year visas."

Deng Yu contributed to this story.