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