Air China's new Boeing 747-8 lands

Updated: 2015-01-08 14:03

By HU HAIDAN in New York(China Daily USA)

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Air China's new Boeing 747-8 lands

Air China's new Boeing 747-8 aircraft debuts internationally on the Beijing-New York route on Wednesday in New York. Zhou Yuelong (fourth from left), general manager at Air China New York; Liu Yi (third from left), counselor of China's Consulate General of China in New York; Xue Yaping (second from left), director of China National Tourist Office in New York; Mike Moran (fourth from right), general manager at John F. Kennedy International Airport; Liu Yongbing (third from right), captain of the B747-8; John Selden (second from right), deputy general manager at JFK International Airport, and staff members from Air China hold the congratulation banner in front of the B747-8 at the airport. Hu Haidan / China Daily.

Air China's new Boeing 747-8 aircraft made its international debut on the Beijing-New York route arriving at JFK on Wednesday.

The 13-hour flight will run once a day between Beijing and New York.

At the in-cabin reception, Zhou Yuelong, general manager of Air China New York spoke with guests and the media.

"We are pleased that our Beijing headquarters has chosen New York for the international launch of the B747-8," Zhou said.

"The B747-8 is the first aircraft in Air China's fleet with a four-cabin configuration, " he explained. "This is significant as this provides travelers from New York and other neighboring cities to China and beyond with more options."

Liu Yi, counselor of the economic and commercial office of China's Consulate General of China in New York, congratulated Air China on behalf of Zhang Qiyue, consul general of China in New York.

In a congratulatory letter, Zhang wrote: "As one of the biggest airline companies in China, Air China makes momentous efforts in connecting China and US economic trade and culture communication."

Xue Yaping, director of the China National Tourist Office (CNTO) in New York said the extension of tourist visas between the US and China from one year to 10 years will provide a huge boost to the travel industries of both countries.

"We treasure every improvement in travel and transportation," Xue said.

Even though the China National Tourist Administration's annual report for 2014 hasn't been released yet, Xue said the expected number of Chinese travelers to the US is around 2.3 million, up more than 25 percent over the 1.8 million Chinese travelers who visited the US in 2013.

Mike Moran, General Manager at JFK International Airport welcomed Air China's new flight. He said it was the first scheduled flight of a Boeing 747-8 at JFK.

"Air China as an innovator and as an industry leader is always identifying new ways to address customers' needs," Moran said. "This efficient and friendly aircraft offering a four-class cabin figuration, passenger options and many other features truly means a lot for passenger experience."

Air China's 747-8 features 12 luxury suites in the Forbidden Pavilion first-class cabin, 54 fully-flat sleepers in the Capital Pavilion business class, 66 premium economy seats and 233 in the economy cabin for a total of 365 seats.

According to Theresa Wu, sales manager at Air China, the Boeing 747-8 is fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly. Also the seats in premium economy and economy cabins offer more legroom.

Air China plans to put a Boeing 747-8 into their Beijing-Los Angeles route in March.

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