BEIJING, China — On 5 April 2018, Air China will launch a new route from Beijing to Panama City via Houston. The new route is expected to greatly facilitate exchanges between both countries as well as neighbouring regions, while providing passengers with a greater range of options.
In June 2017, China and Panama signed a joint communiqué on the establishment of diplomatic relations. This formal establishment of diplomatic relations carries forth a relationship that dates back more than 160 years into a new era. China is Panama’s second largest trading partner and the second largest user of the Panama Canal, while Panama is China’s largest trading partner in Central America. In 2017, bilateral trade amounted to nearly US$6.7 billion, while two-way passenger traffic totalled nearly 40,000, growing at an annual rate of almost 30%.
Best known for the Panama Canal, Panama City is a historic port city straddled between lush mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Here, tourists can witness the contrast between the city’s colourful colonial architecture and its shiny modern high rise buildings that dominate the skyline. Furthermore, Panama enjoys a unique geographical position as a land and ocean crossroads and is regarded by China as a natural extension of the 21st-century maritime Silk Road into Latin America that has a pivotal role to play.
In addition to improving trade relations between both countries, Air China hopes that the launch of the new Beijing-Houston-Panama City route will improve transportation links between China and Panama considerably. Moreover, it is anticipated that the route will deepen bilateral trade, investment, maritime, education and tourism cooperation.
In recent years, Air China has been working to develop Beijing into a major airport hub with a truly global reach. Air China’s route network already spans all six inhabited continents, and the launch of the Beijing-Houston-Panama City route marks an important milestone in its efforts to expand coverage in the Americas. Air China currently operates over 200 weekly flights to 12 destinations in the Americas, including New York (Newark Airport and JFK Airport), Washington, DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Hawaii, Vancouver, Montreal, Havana and Sao Paulo. Moreover, its modern, airy cabins and outstanding service ensure that passengers can travel in supreme comfort.
Flight numbers: CA885/6 (All times below are local times) Outbound flights (Thu, Sun): Departure from Beijing at 07:40 and arrival in Houston at 08:20; Departure from Houston at 10:50 and arrival in Panama City at 14:30; Inbound flights (Thu, Sun): Departure from Panama City at 16:30 and arrival in Houston at 20:15; Departure from Houston at 01:00 the next day and arrival in Beijing at 04:50 the third day.
The Beijing-Houston-Panama City route is operated by Boeing 777-300 ER (Extended Range) wide-body aircraft that are popular with business travellers. The First and Business Class cabins are equipped with fully-reclinable seats and a central bar area, while passengers in all travel classes have their own in-flight entertainment system and power sockets. The Boeing aircraft also feature wheelchair-accessible lavatories and dynamic LED mood lighting to ensure a more comfortable journey for all passengers.