TEL AVIV (Aug. 1)
Air China, the national airline of the People’s Republic of China, inaugurated its long-awaited regular air service to Israel last week.
The weekly Air China service, between Beijing and Tel Aviv, will run in tandem with the weekly flights operated to Beijing by El Al since last September.
Both El Al and Air China will leave Ben-Gurion Airport on Thursdays, the Chinese airline at 5:10 p.m. and EI AI shortly before midnight.
The Chinese airline’s inaugural flight July 28 finalizes an agreement on mutual air service that was signed last year after China and Israel established full diplomatic relations.
One of the passengers aboard the first Air China flight was Xu Beiling, president of the airline and also a deputy minister in the Chinese government.
Xu was greeted at Ben-Gurion Airport by Israeli Transport Minister Yisrael Kessar.
Also aboard the inaugural flight were two Chinese kite manufacturers, who plan to display their colorful silk kites, in the shape of traditional dragons and other mythical beasts, at the Jerusalem International Arts and Crafts Fair.