Two new corridors of passage will soon open between North America and opposite sides of the globe.
Vancouver Airport Authority (VAA) announced Friday the arrival of Sichuan Airlines, offering the continent’s first and only direct flight to China’s interior.
And on Thursday, the first ever direct flight of a Virgin Airlines aircraft will land at YVR from London Heathrow with Virgin Atlantic founder Sir Richard Branson on board.
Branson is expected to take part in a press conference and official welcome after the plane lands.
Beginning June 22, Sichuan Airlines will offer service three times per week between Vancouver and Chengdu, via Shenyang.
“The service to Sichuan Province marks not only a new destination, but a new airline for YVR,” said Larry Berg, VAA president and CEO.
“This means more options for passengers and greater opportunities for business and for tourism.”
Chengdu and Shenyang are both regarded as important economic, transportation and commercial hubs.
Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, is home to 14 million people and the famous giant panda.
Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning Province, has a population of 8.1 million and is one of the 10 largest cities in China.
“Opening this new route will further expand Vancouver International Airport’s reach into China’s domestic network,” said Zhang Huiyu, vice president of Sichuan Airlines.
“This 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 Airlines’ service to and from YVR will use an Airbus 330 aircraft with capacity for 245 passengers. Flights will operate on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, arriving at 8:20 a.m., departing at 10:20 a.m.
Sichuan Airlines’ service is estimated to generate 56 person-years of employment, $2.6 million in wages and contribute $5 million to British Columbia’s gross domestic product annually.