Representatives from China's Sichuan Airlines and the Vancouver Airport Authority have signed a letter of intent with the goal of starting a new three flights a week service to Vancouver in 2012, bringing with it a boost in tourism and new jobs, announced Premier Christy Clark.
The Premier met with Zhang Huiyu, Vice General Manager for Sichuan Airlines, and Tony Gugliotta, Senior Vice President Marketing and Business Development for Vancouver Airport Authority in Guangzhou, China as part of her Jobs Trade Mission. The new service would be the company's first foray into North America.
"Expanding markets for B.C. products and services, particularly in Asia, is a key pillar of Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan," said Premier Clark. "Sichuan Airlines' plans to start this new service will provide another way for British Columbian and Chinese businesses and individuals to expand trade, and will create jobs, new personal connections and $50 million in additional tourism-related revenue annually between Canada and China."
Before flights can begin, Sichuan Airlines must receive approval from Transport Canada. Just this year China Southern Airlines started flying passengers and cargo from Guangzhou to YVR. The new Chengdu - Shenyang - YVR service would generate substantial direct economic benefits to British Columbia, including 31,000 additional visitors to BC annually, and $3.5 million to BC's GDP every year.
"Sichuan Airlines, along with its partners, looks forward to increasing the existing trade, business and personal ties between China and Canada by specifically helping to move passengers and cargo between Chengdu, Shenyang and Vancouver," said Zhang Huiyu of Sichuan Airlines.
In 2009, China granted Canada Approved Destination Status (ADS) following the visit of Prime Minister Harper to China which allowed tourism operators in both countries to market their destinations to the other country. Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, has a population of over 14 million and is a business, trade and technology centre in southwest China. Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning Province, has a population of nine million and is an industrial hub in northeast China. Both cities would be new and important markets for B.C.
"Strengthening our infrastructure to get our goods and services to market is a key pillar of the BC Jobs Plan and a new service from China would do that, " said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Blair Lekstrom. "Adding additional air services from China would enrich our air connection to Asia and increase business possibilities."
"Under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the federal government's investments and partnerships in building the Asia-Pacific Gateway continue to strategically position Canada as the corridor of choice between high-growth Asian markets and North America," said the Honourable Ed Fast, Canada's Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia Pacific Gateway who recently returned from a trade mission to China where he promoted Canada's competitive advantages directly to China's political and business leaders. "We welcome further indications of private sector interest in strengthening Canada's competitive advantages by facilitating the movement of goods, services and people between Canada and China. Deepening Canada's trading relationship with China creates jobs and prosperity for hardworking British Columbians and all Canadians."
"This would be an exciting development for YVR and the province," said Vancouver Airport Authority's Tony Gugliotta. "It demonstrates that B.C. is an attractive destination for Chinese tourists and a favoured partner for new business. It also highlights the importance of Vancouver International Airport as an economic generator for B.C."
As part of the BC Jobs Plan, Premier Christy Clark is leading the largest trade mission in the province's history to promote BC as a safe harbour for investment. The Jobs and Trade Mission is focused on strengthening existing relationships between B.C. and Asian markets, opening doors for new relationships and setting the stage for future opportunities in China and India. Delegates from more than 130 companies and organizations are accompanying the Premier as part of the effort to defend and create jobs here at home. Health Minister Mike de Jong will also be accompanying the Premier during her time in India.
Japan and Hong Kong are also on the jobs and trade mission itinerary. Forests Minister Steve Thomson will travel to Japan and Minister Pat Bell, Jobs, Tourism and Innovation, ends his part of the mission in Hong Kong.
- Chinese visitors spend an average of $1,600 per person when they visit Canada.
- Sichuan Airlines operates a fleet of 62 aircraft (including 3 A330-200) from its main hub in Chengdu. It has an extensive domestic network and began operating internationally in 2007. It now operates routes to Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Maldives, Vietnam and the island of Saipan. This service will be Sichuan's first route to North America.
- The BC Jobs Plan commits the Province to aggressively seek out partnerships with aviation companies to increase flights to the province.
- The full B.C. Jobs Plan report can be found at: www.bcjobsplan.ca
Office of the Premier
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure