Air China is launching twice-weekly nonstop service from Chengdu to Tokyo on September 22, becoming the first airline to launch a direct route to...

Air China is launching twice-weekly nonstop service from Chengdu to Tokyo on September 22, becoming the first airline to launch a direct route to Japan from Southwest China.

Operating on Wednesdays and Saturdays, Air China’s flight CA423 is timed to depart from Chengdu Shuangliu Airport (CTU) at 8:00 a.m. and arrive at Tokyo Narita Airport (NRT) at 1:40 p.m. local time. The return flight, CA424, is scheduled to leave NRT at 2:50 and reach CTU at 7:20 p.m. local time. The new route will save passengers at least 2 hours 20 minutes compared with existing one-stop itineraries, according to Air China.


Air China Boeing 747-400 B-2443 climbs away from Beijing Capital International Airport

Air China already offers three one-stop services from Chengdu to Japan: Chengdu-Beijing-Tokyo and Chengdu-Shanghai-Nagoya, on both of which flights operate daily; and Chengdu-Dalian-Osaka, which Air China operates three times a week. The launch of Air China’s Chengdu-Tokyo nonstop service will increase Air China’s total weekly flights between Chengdu and Tokyo to nine.

Japan relaxed its visa requirements for Chinese tourists in July and the number of Chinese tourists to Japan continues to increase, according to Air China. Japanese tourist numbers to Sichuan are growing too. In 2009, Sichuan received 166,910 Japanese tourists; the number during the period from January to May 2010 was 47,601, an increase of 33.83 per cent over the same period last year.

Air China is China’s only national flag carrier and a Star Alliance member. Using a fleet of 256 Airbus and Boeing aircraft, Air China’s network encompasses 250 routes in 32 countries and within China. The airline’s membership in the Star Alliance gives Air China access to 912 destinations in 159 countries from its hub at Beijing Capital International Airport. Air China says it now has 10 million members in its frequent-flyer program.

For more information, visit www.airchina.com.cn or call Air China’s service hotline at +86 4008-100-999.