The airline's new Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental fleet made its debut on the Beijing-New York route on January 7, when flight CA981 landed at New...

Air China has begun using Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental jets for one of its two daily round-trips between Beijing and New York JFK.

The airline’s new Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental fleet made its debut on the Beijing-New York route on January 7, when flight CA981 landed at New York JFK in the early afternoon.


New York JFK became Air China's first Boeing 747-8I destination when flight CA981 landed at JFK early in the afternoon of January 7, 2015. In this photo, the aircraft operating the inaugural Beijing-New York 747-8I flight is being towed to its arrival gate at JFK's ramp-congested Terminal 1 after landing and taxiing

New York JFK became Air China’s first Boeing 747-8I destination when flight CA981 landed at JFK early in the afternoon of January 7, 2015. In this photo, the aircraft operating the inaugural Beijing-New York 747-8I flight is being towed to its arrival gate at JFK’s ramp-congested Terminal 1 after landing and taxiing

 

Later in the afternoon, the return flight, CA982, was operated by the same Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental jet.

Boeing 747-8Is will continue to operate Air China’s flights CA981 and CA982 on a daily basis. The airline’s other daily round-trip to and from New York JFK, CA989 and CA990, will continue to be operated by Boeing 777-300ER equipment.

Air China was the first Asian carrier to receive a Boeing 747-8I passenger jet. To date Air China has ordered seven 747-8Is and has received four of them.

Star Alliance member Air China is the only airline in China to operate the B747-8I and the only airline to operate non-stop flights between New York and Beijing.

“It is only fitting that the largest city in the United States is the first Air China gateway in North America to operate the fuel-efficient, environment-friendly B747-8i,” said Yuelong Zhou, general manager of Air China’s New York station.

Air China took delivery of its first Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental passenger jumbo on September 29, 2014, becoming the first carrier in Asia to operate the 747-8I. Pictured here is the airline's first 747-8 Intercontinental, one of seven ordered by Air China, during a pre-delivery test flight

Air China took delivery of its first Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental passenger jumbo on September 29, 2014, becoming the first carrier in Asia to operate the 747-8I. Pictured here is the airline’s first 747-8 Intercontinental, one of seven ordered by Air China, during a pre-delivery test flight

 

“More importantly, the B747-8i is the first aircraft in Air China’s fleet with a four-cabin configuration,” Zhou added. “This is significant as this provides travelers from New York and other neighboring cities to China and beyond with more options.”

Each of Air China’s Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental jets has 12 luxury suites in its Forbidden Pavilion first class cabin, 54 fully-flat sleepers in Capital Pavilion business class, 66 premium economy seats and 233 in its economy cabin, for a total of 365 seats per aircraft.

Air China has devoted part of each 747-8I’s main deck and its entire upper deck to business class cabins. The majority of the 180-degree lie-flat seats in the two business class cabins are arranged in a staggered 2-2 configuration.

The airline’s new 747-8Is are the first aircraft in its fleet to sport Air China’s new cabin interior, which depicts three traditional Chinese cultural elements that represent the harmonious unity of heaven, earth and sky.

Air China’s seasonally adjusted schedule for its Beijing-New York services calls for flight CA981 to depart Beijing Capital International Airport (IATA code PEK) at 1:00 p.m. daily and land at New York JFK (JFK) at 1:30 p.m. the same day, local time, after crossing the International Dateline.

At the Asian Aerospace International Expo and Congress 2011 in Hong Kong on March 7, 2011, Air China signed an agreement to buy five Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental jetliners. Air China added another two 747-8Is to its order in March 2013, when it announced plans to buy 31 more Boeing jets

At the Asian Aerospace International Expo and Congress 2011 in Hong Kong on March 7, 2011, Air China signed an agreement to buy five Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental jetliners. Air China added another two 747-8Is to its order in March 2013, when it announced plans to buy 31 more Boeing jets

 

In the other direction, return flight CA 982 is timed to leave JFK at 3:50 p.m. daily and to touch down at PEK at 6:20 p.m. the following day, local time, again after crossing the International Dateline.

Flight CA 989, operated by a Boeing 777-300ER, is scheduled to push back from the gate at PEK at 9:00 a.m. every day except Tuesdays and Thursdays in order to reach JFK at 9:30 a.m. the same day, local time.

In the other direction, return flight CA990 vacates the gate at JFK at 11:50 a.m. every day except Tuesdays and Thursdays and arives at PEK at 2:40 p.m. the following day, local time.

Air China offers non-stop service to Beijing from seven North American gateways: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Washington Dulles, Honolulu and Vancouver.

It is also the world’s largest airline by market capitalization, according to the International Air Transport Association. Air China operates 323 passenger routes, serving 162 cities in 32 countries.

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