Air China Limited or “China International Airlines Company” is one of the major airlines of the People’s Republic of China. Its headquarters are in Beijing, China. Air China’s flight operations are based at Beijing Capital International Airport. The logo of the company represents a Chinese phoenix emblazed in heavenly flame.
Air China’s route network extends all over the world, spreading its wins over all six habitable continents of the world. Flights radiate out of its hubs at Beijing and Chengdu to land all over Asia, the Middle East, Western Europe, over the Uluru in Australia and both the Americas.
The Marxist ideology of 1960s China prevented the airline from acquiring Boeings from foreign companies except for refurbished aircraft from Pakistan and Russia. That policy could not hold for long and the Airline started to purchase aircraft from Boeing and Airbus from the 1970s onwards.
Recently, however, nineteen new Boeing 777-300ERs that the airline received in 2011 held the pride of the airline, especially on long-haul circuits to the US and Europe. With the newer planes, two Air China flights landed at the LAX Los Angeles airport per day from February 2012 and New York began to receive eleven flights per week instead of just seven. From January 2014, Air China began to service non-stop flights to Honolulu, Hawaii and back, and in March 2014 Houston, TX began to receive an Air China flight daily.
Air China expanded its flights over the Himalayas, to India in September 2011 with flights to Mumbai and Delhi. Air China also started direct flights to Johannesburg, South Africa in October 2015 three times a week.
Services and Awards
Air China was the first Chinese carrier to give WIFI broadband services on a flight to its customers in November 2011.
On 2 December 2010, Air China received the “Plaque for Tourist Merit” which is Spain’s highest tourism industry award. The Award is given to organizations that greatly contributing to the Spanish tourism industry. Air China was the first foreign airline to accept this award.
The Chinese government decided to break up the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) into six separate airlines in order to meet the demand of China’s staggering population and to administer flight operations more effectively. So in1987, five domestic and regional airlines were established along with Air China which was a dedicated international airline for long-haul flights, and flag bearing carrier of China. It began services in July 1988.
By January 2001, China had more than 30regional and international airlines which put an immense pressure on the Chinese airports amidst cut-throat competition. To mitigate this Chinese Aviation Board order ten airlines to merge into each other. The blueprint of the merger program required Air China to acquire China Southwest Airlines. This merger created a group with a fleet of 118 aircraft. In 2006, Air China joined the Star Alliance, the largest airline alliance group of the world.
Air China then went on a shopping spree and began acquiring major chunks of airlines working around the0 vicinity of its route network. In 2009, it bought shares of Air Macau, increasing its stake from 51% to a dominant 81% of the company for the US $19.3 million. Just a month later, it increased its stake in Cathay Pacific from 17.5% to 30% for HK $813 million. In 2010, Air China took over Shenzhen Airlines’ 51% share and controlling hold of the airline, broadening its domestic base considerably.
Phoenix Miles is the frequent-flyer program of Air China airline. Its subsidiary Shenzhen Airlines, Shandong Airlines, Tibet Airlines and Dalian Airlines also accept the program as well. This is the first frequent-flyer program in China that addressed to international and domestic passengers.
Currently, Air China has 33 Airbus A319-100, 44 Airbus A320-200, 60 Airbus A321-200, 30 Airbus A330-200, 26 Airbus A330-300, 21 Boeing 737-700, 123 Boeing 737-800, 3 Boeing 747-400, 7 Boeing 747-8I, 4 Boeing 777-200, 24 Boeing 777-200 and 9 Boeing 787-9 totalling to 384 aircraft in its fleet.