Air China's Airbus A340 taking off from Beijing Capital International Airport (Dec 2004)During 2004 as part of a consolidation of the Chinese aviation industry Air China absorbed Zhejiang Airlines (a subsidiary of CNAC). On 15 December 2004 the company listed its shares on the Hong Kong and London Stock Exchanges. Air China has shareholdings in Air China Cargo (51%), Air Macau (51%) and also holds majority shares of Shandong Airlines.
Air China's route network extends throughout Asia to the Middle East, Western Europe, and North America from its main hub at Beijing Capital International Airport. It also currently reaches a significant number of Asian, Australian and European destinations from Shanghai. Some international routes operate from Chengdu, Chongqing, Dalian, Dubai, Hangzhou, Kunming, Nanning and Xiamen.
On 10 December 2006, Air China started serving its first South American destination, São Paulo (via Madrid). This was the airline's longest direct flight. The service began with the Boeing 767-300 aircraft, but because of its popularity, the service has since been upgraded to an Airbus A330-200.
Air China recently introduced its new Airbus A330-300 aircraft for long haul operations beginning with services to Düsseldorf, Germany for the summer 2011 schedule. These aircraft provide the same two-class cabin standard as the Airbus 330-200 except that the economy cabin has no seat-back entertainment system installed (with the exception of the first two economy rows which also have increased legroom). Düsseldorf is now the third German destination on the Air China network. The airline will also launch a new Beijing-Milan service starting 15 June 2011. This service will complement the airline's existing Shanghai Pudong-Milan service. Deliveries of the carrier's 19 new Boeing 777-300ERs will commence in mid-2011, and Air China stated that the aircraft will form the "backbone of its future longhaul operations". The new Boeing 777-300ER will ultimately replace Boeing 747–400 on routes to U.S. destinations such as Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, but it is expected to first enter service on flights to Paris from March 2012.
The carrier re-launched services from Beijing to Athens with a stopover in Munich using an A330-300 starting 15 May 2011 Air China has announced that it will commence a second daily Beijing-Los Angeles service with a Boeing 747-400M, while the existing daily Los Angeles service is to be upgraded to Boeing 747-400. The Boeing 777-300ER will replace both aircraft once sufficient numbers enter the fleet. Air China also announced that it will expand its operations in India with a Beijing-Mumbai route to plan to begin in September 2011 while the existing Delhi route is upgraded to A330. The airline, however, will launch service to Mumbai from Chengdu effective 2 May 2012. The airline announced that it plans to use the Boeing 777-300ER on one of its two daily Beijing-Los Angeles flights beginning 1 February 2012. Beginning late-2012 and in early 2013, the airline plans to replace the New York and San Francisco routes from the currently operated Boeing 747-400 to the Boeing 777-300ER.
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