Air China

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This article is about the flag carrier of the People's Republic of China. For the flag carrier of the Republic of China, see China Airlines. For the state-owned subsidiary, see China National Aviation Corporation.
Air China
Zhōngguó Guójì Hángkōng Gōngsī
Air China Logo.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 1988
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer program Phoenix Miles
Airport lounge VIP Lounge
Alliance Star Alliance
Fleet size 359
Destinations 201
Company slogan 我们去超越 (Simplified Chinese)
我們去超越 (Traditional Chinese)
We go above and beyond (English)
Parent company
Headquarters Beijing Tianzhu Airport Industrial Zone
Shunyi District, Beijing, China
Key people

25,269 (April 2014)


Air China Limited (simplified Chinese: 中国国际航空公司; traditional Chinese: 中國國際航空公司; literally: "China International Airlines Company", colloquially known as 国航/國航, SEHK0753, LSEAIRC, SSE: 601111) is the flag carrier[1] and one of the major airlines of the People's Republic of China, with its headquarters in Shunyi District, Beijing. Air China's flight operations are based in Beijing Capital International Airport. In 2013, the airline carried 51 million domestic and international passengers with an average load factor of 81%.[2]


Air China was established and commenced operations on 1 July 1988 as a result of the Chinese government's decision in late 1987 to split the operating divisions of Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) into six separate airlines: Air China, China Eastern, China Southern, China Northern, China Southwest, and China Northwest.[3] Air China was given chief responsibility for intercontinental flights and took over the CAAC's long haul aircraft (Boeing 747s, 767s, and 707s) and routes.

In January 2001, the former CAAC's ten airlines agreed on a merger plan,[4] according to which Air China was to acquire China Southwest Airlines. Before the acquisition, Air China was the country's fourth largest domestic airline. The merger created a group with assets of 56 billion Yuan (USD $8.63 billion), and a fleet of 118 aircraft.[5] In October 2002, Air China consolidated with the China National Aviation Corporation and China Southwest Airlines.[6]

On 15 December 2004, Air China was successfully listed on the Hong Kong and London Stock Exchanges. The airline also listed its shares on the Shanghai Stock Exchange on 18 August 2006.

In 2006, Air China signed an agreement to join the Star Alliance. It became a member of the alliance on 12 December 2007 alongside Shanghai Airlines.

In July 2009, Air China acquired $19.3 million of shares from its troubled subsidiary Air Macau, lifting its stake in the carrier from 51% to 80.9%.[7] One month later, Air China spent HK$6.3 billion (USD $813 million) to raise its stake in Cathay Pacific from 17.5% to 30%, expanding its presence in Hong Kong.[8]

In April 2010, Air China completed the increase of shareholdings in Shenzhen Airlines and became the controlling shareholder of Shenzhen Airlines, allowing Air China to further enhance its position in Beijing, Chengdu, and Shanghai as well as achieve a more balanced domestic network.[9]

On 2 December 2010, Air China received Spain's highest tourism industry award, the "Plaque for Tourist Merit". Air China was the first foreign airline to receive the award, which is given to organisations and individuals contributing to the Spanish tourism industry.[10]

On 23 December 2010, Air China became the first Chinese airline to offer combined tickets that include domestic flights and shuttle bus services to nearby cities. The first combined flight-shuttle bus ticket connected Tianjin via shuttle bus with domestic flights passing through Beijing.[11]

Air China began offering Wi-Fi internet service on board its aircraft on 15 November 2011, making it the first Chinese carrier to offer this service.[12]

In 2012, after pressure from PETA, Air China stated that it would no longer transport monkeys to laboratories. PETA welcomed the airline’s announcement.[13]

In 2012 Air China launched a Facebook campaign in collaboration with Asian restaurants in Sweden, where participants could check in using their smartphones and win a flight to Beijing.[14]

On July 3, 2013 in time for the company's 25th anniversary, Air China successfully tested Wireless LAN in flight. It was the first global satellite Internet flight in Mainland China.[15]

In early 2015 it was announced that the airline had selected the Boeing 737 Next Generation and 737 MAX for its fleet renewal programme of 60 aircraft. The deal, with a value of over $6b at current list prices, has yet to be finalised.[16]

Corporate affairs[edit]

Air China HQ Building

The entity Air China Limited was registered in 2003, and its shares began trading in Hong Kong and London on December 15, 2004. Originally the airline corporate entity was Air China International, which was founded 2002 Air China International incorporated China Southwest Airlines and the air transportation services of the China National Aviation Company, becoming a new entity.[17] As of June 2015, it ranks no. 1 of Chinese companies for long term accounts payable.[18]

The Air China HQ Building (S: 国航总部大楼, T: 國航總部大樓, P: Guó Háng Zǒngbù Dàlóu), the corporate headquarters, is located in Zone A of the Tianzhu Airport Industrial Zone (S: 天竺空港工业区, T: 天竺空港工業區, P: Tiānzhú Kōng Gǎng Gōngyèqū) in Shunyi District, Beijing.[17][19][20] The company registered office is on the ninth floor of the Blue Sky Mansion (S: 蓝天大厦, T: 藍天大廈, P: Lántiān Dàshà), also in Zone A of the Tianzhu Airport Industrial Zone.[21]

The enterprise logo of Air China consists of an artistic phoenix pattern, the name of the airline written in calligraphy by former national leader Deng Xiaoping, and "AIR CHINA" in English. The phoenix logo is also the artistic transfiguration of the word "VIP". Air China is a member of the Star Alliance.


  Mainland China
  Air China destinations

Air China's route network extends throughout Asia to the Middle East, Western Europe, and North America from its main hub at Beijing Capital International Airport. It also currently reaches a significant number of Asian, Australian and European destinations from Shanghai. Some international routes operate from Chengdu, Chongqing, Dalian, Hangzhou, Kunming and Xiamen. It is one of the few world airlines that fly to all six inhabitable continents.

On 10 December 2006, Air China began serving its first South American destination, São Paulo-Guarulhos (via Madrid-Barajas). This was the airline's longest direct flight. The service was initiated with a Boeing 767-300ER, but due to increased demand, the service has been upgraded to an Airbus A330-200.

Regular flights between Mainland China (PRC) and Taiwan (ROC) started in July 2009. Due to the political status of Taiwan, all Air China airframes that operate flights to and from Taiwan are required to cover the flag of the People's Republic of China on the fuselage, including a number of Airbus A320s, A330s, A340s, Boeing 777-200s, and Boeing 747-400BDSFs.

Air China introduced its new Airbus A330-300 to long-haul operations beginning with services to Düsseldorf, Germany in summer 2011. These aircraft provided the same two-class cabin standard as the Airbus A330-200 except that the economy cabin had no seat-back entertainment system installed (with the exception of the first two economy rows which also had increased legroom). Düsseldorf is now the third German destination on the Air China network. The airline launched a new Beijing-Milan-Malpensa service on 15 June 2011, complementing the airline's existing service to Milan from Shanghai.

Deliveries of the carrier's 19 new Boeing 777-300ERs commenced in mid-2011, with the aircraft forming the new "backbone of its future longhaul operations". The new Boeing 777-300ERs replaced the Boeing 747–400s on routes to U.S. destinations such as Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, but was expected to first enter service on flights to Paris from March 2012. The Boeing 777-300ER began to replace most 747 service once sufficient numbers entered the fleet.[22] Air China expanded its operations in India with a Beijing-Mumbai route begun in September 2011, while the existing Delhi route was upgraded to the A330.[23] The airline also launched service to Mumbai from Chengdu on 2 May 2012.[24] The airline began using the Boeing 777-300ER on one of its two daily Beijing-Los Angeles flights on 1 February 2012.[25] Beginning in late-2012 to early 2013, the airline will replace the Boeing 747-400s currently servicing the New York and San Francisco routes with the Boeing 777-300ER.[26] With the addition of the Boeing 777-300ERs on the US routes, Air China increased frequency on the Beijing-New York route, changing the flights from 7 to 11 flights a week by adding two new flights to the route (CA989/990).[27] On 21 January 2014, the airline launched its service to Hawaii with flights from Beijing to Honolulu, the first nonstop flights between the two cities.[28] The airline also increased the frequency of service on the Beijing-Houston Intercontinental route from four times weekly to daily service from 30 March 2014.[29] Beginning 10 June 2014, Air China introduced new nonstop service from Beijing to Washington-Dulles, operated by a Boeing 777-300ER.[30] As of September 29 2015, Air China also introduced a 3 times weekly flight to Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport in a codeshare with Air Canada.[31] The Montreal flight was extended to Havana from 27 December 2015.

Air China started its direct flights to Johannesburg, South Africa from 29 October 2015. The flight operates three times weekly.[32]

Codeshare agreements[edit]

The Flag of China painted onto the side of a Boeing 747-400. Air China is the only flag carrier of China.

Air China has codeshare agreements with the following airlines (as of May 2015):[33]



Air China Airbus A320-200
in Purple Peony special livery
Air China Airbus A330-200
in Purple Gold special livery
Air China Boeing 737-800
in Phoenix special livery
Air China Boeing 747-8
Air China Boeing 777-300ER

As of January 2016, the Air China fleet consists of the following aircraft:[42][43][44][45]

Air China Passenger Fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
F B E+ E Total
Airbus A319-100 33 8 120 128
Airbus A320-200 40 18 150 158 Deliveries from 2014[46]
Airbus A320neo 33[47] TBA Deliveries until 2020[46]
Airbus A321-200 58 12 173 185
Airbus A330-200 4 12 271 283 B-6070, B-6071, B-6072 and B-6081
26 30 207 237
Airbus A330-300 7 36 20 255 311 3 leased from AerCap; aircraft with registration starting B-65 are in this configuration
16 30 16 255 301
Airbus A350-900 10 TBA
Boeing 737-700 21 8 120 128
Boeing 737-800 117 73 8 159 167
Boeing 747-400 3 10 42 292 344 To be phased out and replaced by Boeing 747-8Is
Boeing 747-8I 7 12 54 66 233 365 [48] Current aircraft being used on PEK-JFK and PEK-SFO routes
Boeing 777-200 10 30 63 217 310 With B/E Diamond seats in Business Class (minus AVOD)
Boeing 777-300ER 20 6[49] 8 42 263 313
Boeing 787-9 15 TBA Deliveries from late 2015 (order was switched from −8 to −9 in August 2010)[50]
Comac C919 20 TBA
Total 359 167


Air China Retired Fleet
Aircraft Total Introduced Retired Replaced by
BAe 146 6 1987 2008 Airbus A320 Family
Boeing 707-300 5 1988 1993 Boeing 767-300
Boeing 737-200 3 1988 1995 Boeing 737 Next Generation
Boeing 737-600 6 2003 2009 Sold to "EG G"
Boeing 747-200M 6 1988 2000 Boeing 747-400
Boeing 747SP 5 1988 2000 Boeing 777-200
Boeing 747-400M 8 1989 2014 Boeing 777-300ER
Boeing 757-200 13 2003 2014 Airbus A320 Family
Boeing 767-200ER 6 1988 2009 Airbus A330
Boeing 767-300 4 1993 2012 Airbus A330
Boeing 767-300ER 5 2003 2010/2012 Airbus A330
Airbus A340-300 6 1997 2014 Boeing 777-300ER
Hawker Siddeley Trident N/A 1974 1991 Occupied
Xian Y-7 N/A 1987 1996 Occupied

Frequent flyer program[edit]

Phoenix Miles (Chinese: 凤凰知音; pinyin: feng huang zhī yīn, literally "Phoenix Concert"), is the frequent flyer program of Air China. This is the first frequent flyer program launched in China. It was designed to reward frequent flyers traveling internationally and domestically with Air China and its partner airlines.[51]

Members earn mileages for travel on Air China, its affiliated partner airlines and partner airlines. The companion card may be upgraded to VIP status. There are special redemption rates for VIP members – Gold card members and Platinum card members.

  • Silver card members (Star Alliance Silver): earn 25% mileage bonus on eligible flights.
  • Gold card members (Star Alliance Gold): earn 30% mileage bonus on eligible flights.
  • Platinum card members (Star Alliance Gold): earn 50% mileage bonus on eligible flights.

Air China Cargo[edit]

Main article: Air China Cargo

Incidents and accidents[edit]

  • On 10 August 1993, Air China Flight 973, a Boeing 767 was hijacked after takeoff from Beijing en route to Jakarta. A 30-year-old Chinese man passed a handwritten note to a flight attendant demanding to be flown to Taiwan. He threatened that his "accomplice" would destroy the aircraft unless he was flown to Taiwan. He was carrying a shampoo bottle containing a mixture of hydrochloric and nitric acids, and he threatened to disfigure nearby passengers with the acid unless his demands were followed. The aircraft was flown to Taipei International Airport, where the hijacker surrendered.[52]
  • On 10 October 1998, Air China Flight 905, a Boeing 737-300 flying the Beijing-Kunming-Yangon route was hijacked by its pilot to Chiang Kai-shek International Airport in Taiwan. The pilot and his wife were apprehended by Taiwanese authorities. The passengers and the crew were unharmed, and the aircraft returned to mainland China later that day. This incident was the last hijacking to Taiwan of a mainland Chinese civilian aircraft.
  • On 15 April 2002, Air China Flight 129, a Boeing 767-200ER from Beijing to Busan, South Korea, crashed into a hill while trying to land at Gimhae International Airport during inclement weather, killing 129 of the 166 people on board.[53][54] This is Air China's first and only fatal accident to date.
  • On 10 June 2013, an unidentified airborne object collided with Air China Flight 4307 flying from Chengdu to Guangzhou as the 757 was climbing through 26000 ft. The flight returned to Chengdu for safety reasons, and post flight examinations revealed that the unknown object caused severe damage to the composite radar dome of the aircraft.[55][56]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About Air China". Star Alliance. Retrieved 6 May 2015. 
  2. ^ Air China Annual Report 2012
  3. ^ "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 2007-03-27. p. 55. 
  4. ^ Ng, Eric, "Air China Set to Announce Lead Bank for Listing," South China Morning Post, Bus. Sec., July 16, 2001, p. 4.
  5. ^ Holland, Tom, "China Break-In," Far Eastern Economic Review, October 25, 2001, p. 41.
  6. ^ "Air China plans to buy 15 new planes". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Associated Press. October 30, 2002. Archived from the original on 6 February 2011. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  7. ^ Air China increases stake in Air Macau to almost 81%, Air Transport Intelligence news, 12.07.2010
  8. ^ Air China to Raise Cathay Pacific Stake to 30% (Update2), By Bloomberg News, August 17, 2009
  9. ^ Air China acquires majority stake in Shenzhen Airlines, Air Transport Intelligence news, 22/03/10
  10. ^ Air China Received Top Tourism Award TN Global Travel Industry News, Dec 3, 2010
  11. ^ "air china launches flight shuttle bus combined ticket for domestic routes". Antara News. Retrieved 2015-02-23. 
  12. ^ "Air China Provides Affordable Luxury for Travelers". FlightNetwork - Let's Roll. Retrieved 29 June 2015. 
  13. ^ Wadman, Meredith. "Air China won’t fly research primates". Nature. Retrieved 28 January 2015. 
  14. ^ "Check in with Air China". Archived from the original on January 30, 2012. 
  15. ^ 国内航班首试空中上网服务
  16. ^ "Air China". Airliner World: 17. March 2015. 
  17. ^ a b "Corporate Social Responsibility Report 2010." (Archive) Air China. p. 7. Retrieved on October 12, 2012. "Headquarter location No. 30, Tianzhu Road, Tianzhu Airport Industrial Zone, Beijing, China"
  18. ^ "Long term accounts payable Rankings for Chinese Companies". China Stock Facts. 2015. 
  19. ^ "Membership." (Archive) IATA. Retrieved on October 12, 2012. "Air China Limited West 6th Floor Air China HQ Building No 30 Tianzhu Road Tianzhu Airport Economic Development Zone Beijing China (People's Republic of) 100621"
  20. ^ "联系我们." (Archive) (Archive) Air China. Retrieved on October 12, 2012. "北京市顺义区天竺空港经济开发区天柱路30号国航总部大楼E410房间"
  21. ^ "Interim Report 2012." (Archive) Air China. Retrieved on October 12, 2012. "The registered office of the Company is located at 9th Floor, Blue Sky Mansion, 28 Tianzhu Road, Zone A, Tianzhu Airport Industrial Zone, Shunyi District, Beijing 101312, the PRC."
  22. ^ "Air China Expands With Second Daily Nonstop Flight From Los Angeles to Beijing". Jan 12, 2011. Retrieved 2013-06-30. 
  23. ^ Business Standard (2011-07-01). "Air China expands India operations". Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  24. ^ [1][dead link]
  25. ^ [2][dead link]
  26. ^ Christine Boynton (2012-01-19). "Air China begins replacing 747s with 777s on US routes". ATWOnline. Retrieved 2013-06-30. 
  27. ^ "New York to Beijing routes increased from one flight to two flights per day". 
  28. ^
  29. ^ Houston Airport System (14 January 2014). "Air China Expands Nonstop Houston-Beijing Service To Daily". Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  30. ^ "Air China to Commence Beijing-Washington Nonstop Service". Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  31. ^ "Air China to Launch Beijing-Montreal Flights in Cooperation with Air Canada". Retrieved 28 May 2015. 
  32. ^ "Air China puts direct route to SA on hold". News24. 29 May 2015. 
  33. ^ Partnerships Retrieved 2013-09-07
  34. ^ "Air Serbia announces codeshare with Air China". 5 May 2015. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  35. ^ "Air China Starts Codeshare with China Express". Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  36. ^ "Ethiopian, Air China move forward on codeshare". ATW Online. 2010-12-18. Retrieved 2010-12-18. 
  37. ^ Air China, EVA Airways to join hands on code sharing services, ChinaKnowledge, Oct. 29, 2010
  38. ^ Hawaiian Airlines (17 April 2014). "Beijing and Beyond: Hawaiian Airlines and Air China Sign Codeshare Agreement". Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  39. ^ "Air China and Kunming Airlines Start Codeshare". Yahoo Finance Canada. 3 September 2014. Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  40. ^ "South African Airways Announces Code Ahare Agreement with Air China". February 29, 2012. Retrieved 2013-06-30. 
  41. ^ "Air China / SWISS to Start Codeshare Partnership from April 2015". 2 April 2015. Retrieved 2 April 2015. 
  42. ^ "Air China fleet". Retrieved 2013-09-23. 
  43. ^ 30 June 2015. "Air China Fleet in". Retrieved 2015-06-30. 
  44. ^ Flight International (13–19 August 2013): 43–58. August 2013. 
  45. ^ Air China International - Seat Maps Retrieved 2013-08-27
  46. ^ a b 24 May 2013. "Air China Orders 100 Airbus A320 Jets". Retrieved 2013-09-22. 
  47. ^ 27 May 2013. "Air China orders 100 Airbus A320 planes". Retrieved 2013-09-22. 
  48. ^ Shih, Kai-Chin. "Air China Boeing 747-8I Interior Information". >talkairlines. >talkairlines. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  49. ^
  50. ^ "Air China switches 15 787-8s order to 787-9s". 1 September 2010. Archived from the original on 2 September 2010. Retrieved 1 September 2010. 
  51. ^
  52. ^ "Hijacking description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 29 August 2013. 
  53. ^ The Evil Queen (2002-04-15). "Chinese jet hits foggy mountain - World News". TVNZ. Retrieved 2013-06-30. 
  54. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 767-2J6ER B-2552 Pusan-Kimhae Airport (PUS)". Retrieved 2013-06-30. 
  55. ^
  56. ^ "Shocking photo: What object caused this much damage to Air China's Boeing 757?". The Aviation Writer. Retrieved 14 January 2015. 

External links[edit]