Sil­i­con Val­ley and Shang­hai get di­rect air link thanks to Air China

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICA - By LIA ZHU in San Fran­cisco li­azhu@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

A new di­rect flight be­tween San Jose, Cal­i­for­nia, and Shang­hai launched on Thurs­day, link­ing Sil­i­con Val­ley and the most pop­u­lous city and fi­nan­cial hub in China.

The new ser­vice will be op­er­ated by Air China three times a week, us­ing an Air­bus A330-200 with a two-cabin, 237-seat con­fig­u­ra­tion, in­clud­ing 30 fully flat bed seats in busi­ness class and 207 econ­omy seats.

The new route marks the first ever non­stop ser­vice be­tween the two cities and the car­rier’s first des­ti­na­tion in North Amer­ica from Shang­hai.

The flights will de­part Shang­hai at 1:30 pm on Tues­day, Thurs­day and Satur­day and ar­rive in San Jose at 10:40 am the same day. The re­turn flights will de­part San Jose at 12:30 pm on Tues­day, Thurs­day and Satur­day and ar­rive at Shang­hai at 4:40 pm the same day. Fly­ing times will be 12.5 hours on av­er­age.

“As Air China’s first non­stop international ser­vice that con­nects North Amer­ica and Shang­hai, it is our hope that this new San Jose-Shang­hai flight will fa­cil­i­tate bi­lat­eral trade, and eco­nomic and cul­tural re­la­tions be­tween two of the world’s most vi­brant and dy­namic cities,” said Cao Jianx­iong, vice-chair­man of Air China.

The de­mand is strong from busi­ness com­mu­ni­ties in Sil­i­con Val­ley to con­nect with Shang­hai, ac­cord­ing to Kim Becker, di­rec­tor of avi­a­tion at Mineta San Jose International Air­port (SCJ).

Shang­hai ranked in the top five most re­quested international busi­ness des­ti­na­tions by Sil­i­con Val­ley trav­el­ers in a cor­po­rate sur­vey con­ducted by SJC’s com­mu­nity part­ners, she said.

The air­port an­tic­i­pates 140,000 pas­sen­gers an­nu­ally, in­clud­ing more than 200,000 Sil­i­con Val­ley res­i­dents with Chi­nese roots and big com­pa­nies with more than 150 lo­ca­tions in Shang­hai, such as Google, Ap­ple, In­tel and Cisco, said Becker.

The new ser­vice is ex­pected to bring an es­ti­mated $65 mil­lion an­nu­ally in eco­nomic in­vest­ment to the San Jose area, she added.

Sam Lic­cardo, mayor of San Jose, said Air China and the city be­gan work­ing to bring about the ser­vice five years ago and he was glad they “fi­nally tied the knot”.

More than 13,000 peo­ple are fly­ing across the Pa­cific each day and there are more than 50 non­stop flights be­tween China and the US.

“San Jose is the heart of Sil­i­con Val­ley, the world in­no­va­tion cen­ter and the largest city in the Bay Area,” said Luo Lin­quan, Chi­nese con­sul gen­eral in San Fran­cisco. “The city is at­tract­ing more and more Chi­nese in­vest­ment. Shang­hai, China’s key eco­nomic and fi­nan­cial cen­ter, is also an im­por­tant science and tech­nol­ogy hub.”

“The new non­stop flight ser­vice be­tween the two cities will be a more con­ve­nient and ef­fi­cient air bridge, which will con­nect the two sides more closely, es­pe­cially in tech­nol­ogy and in­no­va­tion co­op­er­a­tion,” he said.

San Jose is Air China’s 10th gate­way in the Amer­i­cas along with Los An­ge­les, San Fran­cisco, New York, Ne­wark, Wash­ing­ton Dulles, Hous­ton, Honolulu, Van­cou­ver and Mon­treal.

LIA ZHU / CHINA DAILY

Kim Becker (sec­ond from left, back row), di­rec­tor of avi­a­tion at Mineta San Jose International Air­port; Luo Lin­quan (third from left), Chi­nese con­sul gen­eral in San Fran­cisco; Sam Lic­cardo (fourth from left), mayor of San Jose; and Cao Jianx­iong (fifth from left), vice-chair­man of Air China; cel­e­brate the launch of the air­line’s new di­rect ser­vice be­tween San Jose and Shang­hai on Thurs­day at San Jose air­port.

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