News

Air China to go triple daily between Beijing and London

28 Nov 2018 by Craig Bright
Aerial view of London and the River Thames (iStock)

Air China is continuing to focus its attentions on building up its connectivity to London, with its current 17-times-weekly flights between the UK capital and Beijing set to go triple daily from March 31 next year.

The frequency boost between Beijing (PEK) and London Heathrow (LHR) follows Air China’s recent decision to switch its Chengdu-London service from Gatwick Airport to Heathrow starting April 2, 2019.

At this time, the boost to a triple daily schedule is only being displayed on the airline’s Chinese website (airchina.com.cn), though it is possible to view this in English.

That Air China seems to have managed to obtain new slots at Heathrow Airport for both its Beijing and Chengdu services is surprising – available slots at the UK’s primary airport are highly sought after and not especially abundant.

That being said, it does look as though China’s national carrier has had to switch up the schedules for its three daily flights from March 31 onwards in order to obtain these slots.

The new schedule for each of the three flights from March 31, 2019 onwards appears to be as follows:

Flight No. From To Departs Arrives Days
CA787 Beijing (PEK) London (LHR) 0735 1150 Daily
CA937 1410 1745
CA855 1625 2040
CA788 London (LHR) Beijing (PEK) 1500 0815+1
CA938 2025 1305+1
CA856 2240 1525+1

It’s not only the schedule that will be switching up next year, however. Air China currently flies two different types of aircraft between Beijing and London Heathrow – a three-class Boeing 777-300ER with first, business and economy class cabins, and a two-class A330-300.

As previously reported by Business Traveller, Air China’s new three-class A350-900 will take over flights CA855 and CA856 from the A330 starting February 1, 2019. It now appears that the aircraft similarly will take over flights CA787 and CA788 starting June 1, 2019.

Air China Airbus A350 business class

Air China configures its A350s with 312 seats overall. These include 32 in the business class cabin, laid out in a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone format meaning all passengers are able to access the aisle unhindered.

The premium economy cabin, meanwhile, has 24 seats laid out in a 2-4-2 formation…

Air China A350 premium economy

…while the economy class cabin’s 256 seats are configured in a nine-across lay out.

Air China Airbus A350 economy class

Last month, Air China announced that its A350s would be progressively rolled out onto four of its European services. These included: Beijing-Milan (October 15, 2018); Shanghai-Frankfurt (December 1, 2018); Shanghai-Milan (January 1, 2019); and Beijing-London (February 1, 2019).

Air China took delivery of its first A350-900 back in August and was the first Chinese carrier to receive the widebody aircraft.

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