United links SF, Xi’an non-stop
United Airlines announced on Tuesday that it will offer seasonal non-stop service between San Francisco and Xi’an, capital of Shaanxi province, between May 8 and Oct 27.
“We decided, after many, many months of thoughtful and careful consideration, to offer this service to our Chinese customers. We want to participate in the (US-China market) growth and the Chinese-US Tourism Year of 2016,” said Marcel Fuchs, vicepresident of the airlines’ Atlantic and Pacific sales, during a media briefing at San Francisco International Airport (SFO).
During his state visit to the US last September, President Xi Jinping announced that 2016 would be the Year of China-US Tourism.
Tourism between the world’s two largest economies continues to grow, with 250 million visitors shuttling back and forth between the two countries in the past eight years, according to the China National Tourism Administration.
Deploying Boeing 787 Dreamliners for this new voyage — approximately 6,500 miles each way — the Chicago-based carrier will be the first US airlines to offer direct transPacific flights to Xi’an.
“We want to acknowledge the US Department of Transportation, the US Department of State and the Civil Aviation Administration of China for their forward-thinking negotiations to open nonstop flights from the United States to interior points in China,” said Fuchs, adding Xi’an is their fourth destination on the Chinese mainland following Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu.
Hailing the addition of the new route, Charles Schuler, director of communications and marketing at SFO, said the new service will enhance San Francisco’s function as the gateway to China. “The business and cultural communities, and regular travelers, will welcome and appreciate your hard work,” he said.
The flights will depart San Francisco International Airport at 1:25 pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays and arrive in Xi’an at 5:30 pm the following day (all times local).
Return flights will depart Xi’an Xianyang International Airport at 10:30 am on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and arrive at San Francisco International Airport at 7:35 am the same day. Flight time will be approximately 13 hours.
Kay Ikawa, managing director of Asia/Pacific sales for United, said the selection of Xi’an was the result of comprehensive research.
United Airlines announces on Feb 16 at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) that it will offer seasonal non-stop service between San Francisco to Xi’an. From left: Charles Schuler of SFO; Marcel Fuchs, United vice-president; Kay Ikawa, United managing director; and Mark Chandler, director of San Francisco Mayor’s Office of International Trade.