LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Air China, China's only flag carrier and designated overseas air carrier for the torch of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, will land at San Francisco International Airport on April 8, 2008, to begin the only leg of the global relay to be held in North America.
The Olympic flame will arrive at 4:00 AM (PDT) aboard a chartered Air China Airbus A330 from Paris, France, by way of Reykjavik, Iceland, as part of its 85,077 mile (137,000 km) globe-spanning journey from Mount Olympus in Greece, where the flame was lit on March 24. The flame traveled from Greece by way of Athens to Beijing on March 31. On April 1 it began its journey to 21 cities on five continents, including San Francisco, before returning on August 6, 2008 to Beijing, site of the 2008 Olympic Games of the XXIX Olympiad.
Air China's support of the Olympic movement dates back 24 years when it carried China's first Olympic delegation to participate in the Olympic Games held in Los Angeles in 1984. In 2001 Air China flew the Chinese Olympic delegation to Moscow where China won the honor of organizing the 2008 Olympic Games. The role of torch carrier was bestowed on Air China on March 12, 2008 by the Beijing Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games.
"We're honored to carry the Olympic flame around the globe, and help deliver its message of hope and unity for the world," says Air China General Manager, Western United States, Zhihang Chi. "Involvement in the Olympic movement supports our international marketing and service initiatives to further enhance Air China's profile and brand recognition in the international community," according to Chi.
Olympic regulations call for two flames to travel the world. One is a backup in case the other goes out. While enroute the Olympic flame is maintained in two specially designed safety lanterns. The interior cabin of the Air China aircraft, which was specially painted with streamline Olympic Sacred Flames for the global relay, was modified slightly to maintain the stability of the lanterns while in the air.
Air China, serves 280 routes (72 international), with 220 passenger and cargo planes in operation as of the end of 2007. The airline will add two dozen new planes this year, expanding the fleet to 244 to meet anticipated visitor influx during the Olympics and Paralympics.
Olympic Torch Global Journey
|Designated Torch Carrier||Air China|
|Journey duration||130 days|
|Distance traveled||85,077 miles (137,000 km)|
|Countries and regions visited||19|
|Total flight time||135.25 hours|
About Air China
Air China (HKEX: 0753; LSE: AIRC; SSE: 601111) is the sole designated flag carrier in China, serving 77 domestic and 40 international and regional cities with an extensive network from its Beijing hub, conveniently linking passengers between China and destinations around the world. Air China is a member of the Star Alliance, the largest airline alliance in the world. In North America, Air China serves New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Vancouver with daily non-stop service to Beijing.