Mumbai: Air China is set to expand its services to India with a Beijing-Mumbai flight from September, making it the first among the three Chinese airlines operating in India to connect with Mumbai.
So far, the only direct air-link between Mumbai and China is provided by Air India's tri-weekly services to Shanghai. According to industry sources, Air China hopes to tap the growing business and leisure traffic on the route.
The Mumbai-Beijing flight will stop over at Chengdu.
The airline will use a narrow body Airbus 319 aircraft with a two-class layout and will be configured for 122-145 seats.
According to industry observers, air travel to Beijing from India takes place via Delhi or through transit from Bangkok or Hong Kong. China has not only emerged as a key venue for trade fairs and exhibitions but also a destination for a large number of traders and importers.
Leisure travel to China has also picked up, according to sources in travel and tourism.
A Mumbai International Airport Ltd spokesperson said though Air China has indicated its interest in commencing operations it was yet to apply for a slot.
Air China is China's flag carrier and the world's largest airline in terms of market value. It operates services to 32 countries.