United links SF, Xi’an non-stop

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICAS - By CHANG JUN in San Fran­cisco junechang@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

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.

CHANG JUN / CHINA DAILY

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.

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