Travelers can catch flights to China from all major world cities and conveniently reach Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou or Hong Kong, the main gateways to the country.
Growing importance of China as a business and tourist destination and interest in Chinese history has led to large inflow of foreigners to that country. The economic boom has led to expansion of air services and airports across the country offering tourists a lot of conveniences.
Direct flights to China’s largest city Shanghai and Hong Kong are available from all important European, American, Asian and African cities. The two destinations have sizeable number of foreign origin people and the Chinese government has historically followed a non-restrictive practice toward people-to-people movement into and out of these two cities.
Shanghai: The Economic Center
Shanghai’s Pu Dong International Airport is directly connected to more than 153 cities. About 80 airlines operate 3,598 international and 4,179 domestic flights every week from the busiest international airport in China. Hongqiao International Airport of Sanghai is used by no-frill and low cost airlines connecting the city with Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo, Taipei and other domestic destinations.
Beijing: The Capital
Capital Airport, located northeast of Beijing, is the second most important destination for flights to China. Close to 100 airlines operate 2,443 international and 8,701 domestic flights from the Beijing airport every week to ferry passengers to more than 200 cities.
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Hong Kong: Asia’s Economic Center
Hong Kong International Airport has been a key gateway to China for long. More than 90 international and domestic airlines operate flights to China’s important tourists and business destinations and all important global capitals from the island. It is the 10th busiest passenger and the busiest cargo airport in the world.
Guangzhou: China’s Industrial Heart
Baiyun Airport in Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is the southern gateway to the mainland. About 60 airlines connect the third largest Chinese city with 144 cities. One of the centers of economic boom in China, 1,057 international flights connect Guangzhou Airport with important cities across the world every week. Flights to China’s industrial center are available from all important world capitals.
China has more than 190 airports. However, most of these airports have limited international connectivity not beyond Southeast Asia, Japan, Korea and Burma. Xianyang Airport in Xi'an is fast emerging as a key hub for tourist flights. The ancient capital of China receives as many 98 international and 3,248 domestic flights operated by 36 airlines every week.
Shuangliu International Airport in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, is another important tier II airport that receives 392 international flights every week from 100 European and Asian destinations. As many as 54 airlines operate out of this business center.
Hefei, Nanjing, Huangshan, Chongqing, Fuzhou, Xiamen, Shenzhen, Guilin, Guiyang, Haikou, Sanya, Harbin, Zhengzhou and Changsha are other important Chinese cities well connected via domestic and international airlines.
More than 100 national and international airlines operate daily flights to China. These include Air New Zealand, British Airways, all major Singapore-based airlines, KLM, Air India, Lufthansa, Emirates, American carrier Delta, Australian carrier Qantas and all major airlines. All major Chinese airlines, including Air China, Hainan Airlines, China United Airlines, Great Wall Airlines, Dragonair, Cathay Pacific and Air Hong Kong, connect China with important global destinations.
The huge Chinese Diaspora and student community living abroad usually come home during the summer. It contributes to sharp rise in the price of air tickets during this period. The Chinese New Year is another time when there is huge rush to book air tickets for important Chinese destinations.
One should take into account the Golden week holidays in China which is the peak period for domestic travel and can result in travel delays if you fly in during that period. There are two golden week holiday periods, one during the Spring Festival (the Lunar New Year period) and one which occurs around October 1. Find discount prices here.
Flights originating from San Francisco, London, New York, Toronto and Sydney need to be booked well in advance because of heavy demand from the expatriate Chinese community there. One can get good flight deals from ads on local Chinese newspapers and websites offering air services to China. The prices quoted there are usually less than fares advertised on English sources.
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