Tag Archive for: Direct China-Havana air service

havana-live-air-china-habanaHAVANA, Dec. 27th The first direct flight between China and Cuba took off on Sunday from the international airport in Beijing for Havana, with state-owned carrier Air China aiming to promote Chinese tourism in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The route is the first direct one linking China, the world’s second-largest economy, and the Caribbean, as well as the first route between the Asian nation and Latin America operated by an Asian airline.

The existing flights from China to Mexico and Brazil are operated by foreign carriers.

The Boeing 777 departed at 1:45 p.m. Beijing time (0545 GMT) and is scheduled to arrive at 8:15 Havana time (0115 GMT on Monday).

The route requires 19.5 hours of flying time, with a stopover for refueling scheduled in Montreal.

Officials expect the route to boost not just tourism between China and Cuba, but travel from the Asian nation to all of Latin America, a region that is rarely visited by the growing number of Chinese tourists.

China became the world’s top source of tourists in 2014, but Chinese tourists tend to mainly visit Europe and Southeast Asia.

People in China are familiar with Cuba and the countries have had friendly political and cultural relations for decades.

Cuba and China have a “long-running friendship” and the flight will draw more “tourists and Chinese businessmen” to the island, Cuban Ambassador to China Alberto Jesus Fernando Silva said during a ceremony organized by Cuban diplomats and Air China at the Beijing airport before the plane’s departure.

Tourist arrivals from China rose 27 percent in Cuba in the past year, the ambassador said.

The direct flight will help “promote links with Cuba and the Caribbean,” Air China executive Fan Cheng said.

Cuba was the first country in Latin America to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China, Fan said.