Sunday, June 23, 2024

China to Mexico: First direct flight in 4 years touches down at AICM

The first China Southern Airlines flight to touch down in Mexico since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic arrived at the Mexico City International Airport (AICM) on Saturday night.

The arrival from Shenzhen, China, was the inaugural flight of this new direct route, which at 16 hours and 14,147 kilometers, is among the longest in the world.

A China Southern airplane flying
China Southern’s Shenzhen-CDMX route is the longest non-stop flight from China of any Chinese airline. (Wikimedia Commons)

The flight from Shenzhen to Mexico City is a nonstop flight, whereas the return includes a 30-minute refueling stop in Tijuana. The stop in Tijuana is necessary because fully loaded planes can’t draw as much power to take off in Mexico City due to the altitude.

China Southern will operate the route twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Saturdays to Mexico; Wednesdays and Sundays back to China). The round-trip journey is being serviced by an Airbus A350 aircraft, according to a Chinese government news outlet based in Shenzhen. 

China Southern will offer 252 seats on the China-to-Mexico leg and 156 seats on the return flight.

The megacity of Shenzhen is considered the epicenter of technology and innovation in China. The new flight to Mexico’s capital is part of the Asian country’s strategy to capitalize on growing trade and tourism between China and Latin America.

The Mexican Embassy in China issued a press release affirming that the two countries are negotiating dozens of projects for this year and next that could produce investments of between US $1.2 billion to US $1.3 billion.

China’s direct investment in Mexico reached US $587 million in 2022, the highest on record, according to Mexico’s Economy Ministry (SE).

China Southern was the first Chinese carrier to operate flights to Mexico, launching a Guangzhou-Vancouver-Mexico City route in 2017. China Southern is headquartered in Guangzhou.

Since reopening the country’s borders last year, China’s airlines have been restoring routes, particularly long-haul flights to Europe and North America that had been suspended or greatly reduced during the pandemic.

Before the pandemic, three airlines — Aeroméxico, Hainan Airlines and China Southern — were operating eight round-trip flights per week between Mexico and China.

The Shenzhen-Mexico City route is now China Southern’s longest, bumping its Guangzhou-New York City route, and the longest direct flight from China of any Chinese airline.

Singapore Airlines’ Singapore to New York City flight is the world’s longest, a 19-hour, 15,332-kilometer journey. 

With reports from EFE, Expansión and CNN

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