China Eastern Airlines has already started flying the first-ever direct service between mainland China, Shanghai, and South Africa, Johannesburg. The new service uses an Airbus A340-30. It means that travelers no longer have to make a flight transfer in Hong Kong or Singapore.
The aircraft takes off from Shanghai Pudong International Airport at 23:55 and arrives in Johannesburg at 10:15 the next day. This is currently a twice a week flight although it is hoped the service will be extended.
Speaking about China Eastern’s maiden flight, Moeketsi Mosola, chief executive officer of South African Tourism said, ‘We recognize the potential of the Chinese market and we are pleased to learn that one of China’s foremost airlines has displayed such interest and enthusiasm in encouraging travel between Johannesburg and Shanghai.’
China Eastern was originally established in 1988 and took over China General Aviation in 1997. Then in March 2001 it took over Air Great Wall, China Yunna Airlines and China Northwest Airlines merged into China Eastern Airlines in 2002. There have been suggestion that another international airline may take a 20% stake in the company which is, in the main, owned by the government of China.
Source: TMC Net and research