First flight from inland China to NA lands at YVR
June 22, 2012, Richmond, B.C. - Vancouver Airport Authority today welcomed the first direct flight linking North America and China's interior province of Sichuan. The inaugural flight of Sichuan Airlines' service between Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and Chengdu, via Shenyang, marks the start of the airline's thrice-weekly service.
The world's second largest economy, China is a key market for British Columbia and Canada. Demand for air travel from China continues to grow and last year, the number of airline seats available between Mainland China and YVR increased by 30 per cent. As of the end of May, more than half a million passengers travelled through YVR from the Asia Pacific region in 2012.
"Sichuan's choice to land at YVR shows how B.C.'s airport is the gateway of choice between North America and Asia," said Larry Berg, President and CEO of Vancouver Airport Authority. "The new route will generate 60 direct jobs at the airport, 260 direct jobs in B.C's tourism industry and contribute$16 million into B.C.'s economy annually. We are delighted to welcome Sichuan Airlines to YVR."
"The new Chengdu – Shenyang – Vancouver service will enable Vancouver International Airport to extend its reach into China's domestic network," said Lan Xinguo, Chairman of Sichuan Airlines. "Furthermore, it will accelerate deep and multi-scope cooperation between Canada and China's western and northeast regions in agriculture, technology, commerce, trade, tourism and education."
Sichuan province, served by Sichuan Airlines' domestic network, is home to 100 million people – approximately three times the population of Canada. An important economic connection for British Columbia, the region is a hub for trade, tourism and commerce.
"The federal government welcomes this new passenger service of Sichuan Airlines to Canada, and we applaud their interest in flying regularly toVancouver which will make travel more convenient for business and tourism travellers," said The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway. "The launch of this service is yet another testament to the deepening Canada-China partnership – a growing relationship that is benefiting people in both countries."
"Sichuan Airlines' flights will connect B.C. business travellers and air cargo to lucrative new markets in China's western and northeast regions," said The Honourable Blair Lekstrom, British Columbia's Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. "Stemming from Premier Clark's recent mission to Chinaand the continued hard work of YVR, Sichuan's new link shows B.C. is attracting new air passenger and cargo services. Expanding markets in Asia is a key part of the B.C. Jobs Plan and our Pacific Gateway Strategy and is creating more jobs for B.C. families and more opportunities for B.C. businesses."
Sichuan Airlines' service to and from YVR will use an Airbus 330 aircraft with capacity for 245 passengers. Flights operate on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, arriving at YVR at 8:20 AM and departing at 10:20 AM.