Last week I asked readers two pieces of Air China trivia:
- In what year did Air China start flying between Los Angeles and Beijing?
- How many flights per week did Air China start with?
At an event last week celebrating the launch of Air China's third daily flight between Los Angeles and Beijing, I spoke with Zhihang Chi, the airline's vice president for North America. He gave me the answer.
The airline that is now Air China began service in 1982 with one weekly flight. At the time, the airline was merely a division of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, or CAAC. The aircraft was a Boeing 747SP.
Most of the growth for the route has happened in the past decade. In 2004, when Chi joined Air China, he said the airline was flying between Los Angeles and Beijing four times per week. In 2006, Air China went daily.
"That was a breakthrough," Chi told me. "You needed to be daily."
In 2011, Air China shifted to double daily service, and in July, it will start flying the route three times per week. Air China is the only airline flying between Los Angeles and Beijing. It also flies freighters.
"Having more frequency is huge, especially for the business traveler," Chi said.
I'm pleased to report we have a trivia winner. Robert answered the question almost perfectly, giving the correct year and saying service was twice per week. The Air China executive was emphatic that service only started at once per week, but since I was not around then, I cannot say for sure. It's always possible Robert was correct about that, too.
Robert wins an Air China paperweight, which I'll be sending him in the mail. A perfect addition to any collection.
Watch this space for the next trivia question. I have American Airlines amenity kits to give away.