China Eastern Opens Up China to Canadians


A new program of flights that will link Vancouver with the balmy city of Kunming in southwest China is set to start this week.

On June 26, China Eastern Airlines will launch a schedule of three flights per week between Kunming Changshui International Airport (KMG) and YVR. The service will connect via Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport and will establish Vancouver as the first North American destination with flights from Kunming – a top tourism region in China.

The route will operate with an Airbus A330-200, with two cabins – business and economy. The economy class cabin gets 202 seats, and 30 are allotted for the J class cabin.

“Having service to Kunming from YVR opens up exciting new tourism and business opportunities for Canadians and further establishes Vancouver as a gateway hub between Asia and the Americas,” said Craig Richmond, president of Vancouver Airport Authority.

YVR receives more than 70 flights per week from China during the summer, and is the only airport in North America with service by four mainland China carriers.

Kunming is located in the province of Yunnan, bordering Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam. It’s known as the City of Eternal Spring due to its warm climate and ideal growing conditions. The city of Lijiang, in northern Yunnan, maintains a famously preserved Old Town, whose twisting streets and classic architecture have been given UNESCO world heritage status. Nearby is the towering Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, which reaches 5,600 metres, and is wonderfully scenic. It is the southernmost point of the Himalaya range.

The new direct service to YVR is timed well to make use of a new visa transit program that is being implemented at approved Canadian airports like YVR for Chinese travellers. Chinese nationals arriving from select cities in China and a few other cities in Asia can transit through these Canadian airports, enroute to the US, without needing a Canadian visa. The China Transit Program is currently available to Chinese nationals departing from Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Manila, Taipei, Tokyo and Seoul.