Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa and airport officials today cheered the recent announcement by Air China that the airline will add a second daily flight between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Beijing beginning Sept. 1, 2011. The added daily service is expected to generate millions of dollars in annual economic impact and sustain several thousand local jobs.
“Los Angeles and China have enjoyed a partnership of over 150 years based on historical, educational, cultural, business trade and investment, and tourism ties,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “I am very proud that Air China’s additional nonstop flight between LAX and Beijing will strengthen these long-standing ties with one of the most desirable cities in Asia and the growing markets of China.”
The Mayor added, “Gaining new and increased international air service at LAX and LA/Ontario International Airport is a top priority for me because of the substantial contribution these flights make to the economy of Southern California. Additional air service to China allows Los Angeles to strengthen its position as the nation’s leading gateway with China. This is a prime example of the type of air service we want to attract to our airports.”
Dr. Zhihang Chi, Air China vice president and general manager for North America, stated, “Our second flight out of LAX will allow passengers to conveniently and easily proceed to other cities in China, Asia and elsewhere in the world, effectively increasing our competitiveness, market share and penetration. Beijing and beyond will be well served by this new flight, making China’s capital city a true global hub.”
Air China will use Boeing 747-400 aircraft for this service, with flights arriving in Los Angeles at 11 a.m., and departing for Beijing at 1:20 pm. According to airline officials, this additional flight will not only double the choices for passengers — especially business travelers destined to Beijing or onward to domestic Chinese cities — but it also creates excellent connections to other important Asian destinations such as India, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand.
According to a study by the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) – Southern California’s premier economic development organization — one average daily, round-trip, transoceanic flight of wide-body aircraft to/from LAX generates $623 million in economic output annually, and sustains 3,120 direct and indirect jobs in Southern California with annual wages of $150 million.
Another LAEDC study shows China continues to be Los Angeles’ largest trading partner, with total two-way trade valued in 2009 at $155.3 billion for the Los Angeles Customs District, which includes the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and LAX. There also are more Chinese and American-Chinese in Los Angeles County than in any other part of the U.S. (360,000). When added to the numbers of Chinese living in neighboring counties, the Southern California region is home to the largest population of Chinese in the U.S.
LAX is the only U.S. airport to offer nonstop service provided by China’s three major international air carriers: Air China to Beijing, China Eastern to Shanghai and China Southern to Guangzhou.