Vancouver Airport Authority today announced the upcoming arrival to Vancouver International Airport (YVR) of Sichuan Airlines, offering North America’s first and only direct flight to China’s interior. 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. This means more options for passengers and greater opportunities for business and for tourism,” said Larry Berg, President and CEO, Vancouver Airport Authority. “We are extremely pleased that Sichuan Airlines has chosen YVR as its first entry point into North America. It is a testament to YVR’s position as a premier global gateway to the Asia-Pacific region, and to Sichuan Airlines’ confidence in the market.”
Chengdu and Shenyang are both 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 ten 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 YVR at 8:20 AM and departing at 10:20 AM.
“The new service being offered by Sichuan Airlines will boost tourism, provide more choice for Canadian travellers, and have a significant impact on our economy,” said The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. “We welcome Sichuan Airlines to Vancouver and look forward to further building our ties with China.”
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. With more than 23,600 people working on Sea Island, YVR is one of British Columbia’s key economic and employment generators. And as the closest major North American airport to Asia, it has more frequencies to China than any other airport on the continent.
“This new service from China further strengthens our already excellent air connections to Asia and will add more jobs at the airport and in the community,” said British Columbia’s Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Blair Lekstrom. “Attracting new air passenger and cargo routes is part of our Pacific Gateway strategy, and this new connection to central and northeast China gives us access to a growing new market.”
Given Canada’s recent Approved Destination Status from China, the new service also supports British Columbia’s Pacific Gateway Transportation Strategy targeting an increase in the number of passengers and cargo travelling through YVR.