TEL AVIV (Jul. 5)
Air China, the national airline of the People’s Republic of China, announced Sunday that it would be inaugurating weekly non-stop flights between Beijing and Tel Aviv later this month.
This puts into effect China’s part of an agreement on mutual air service that was signed last year by China and Israel after they established diplomatic relations.
El Al, Israel’s national airline, has been flying to China since last September.
By an unfortunate quirk of international scheduling, both El Al and Air China will leave Israel’s Ben-Gurion airport on Thursdays — the Chinese airline at 5:10 p.m. and El Al shortly before midnight.
On the flights from Beijing, Air China will depart on Wednesday mornings, El Al leaves Beijing on Saturday nights.
El Al says its schedule has the advantage of leaving Israel shortly after the arrival here of several flights from Europe, affording passengers easy connections to China and the Far East.
Neither airline flies over Arab territory on its Tel Aviv-Beijing route.
Both fly north to Turkey and from there on a straight line over Central Asia, passing over the ancient Silk Road to Beijing.