Africa's biggest airliner, South African Airways (SAA) is this month-end expected to launch its inaugural non-stop flight to Beijing, China. "The inaugural flight is scheduled to depart on Tuesday 31 January 2012 from Johannesburg to arrive in Beijing, on Wednesday 1 February 2012," according to an announcement to its Voyagers members.
SAA’s plan to introduce a non-stop flight into Beijing is expected to boost economic and trade links between Africa and China.China is one of the four largest foreign investors in Africa. Its engagement in Africa has been bashed by critics as a new form of colonialism while pro-China commentators contend that no single economy can do without interacting with China.
The introduction of a non-stop flight from Johannesburg to the Beijing will supplement other African carriers like Ethiopian Airlines and Air Zimbabwe which fly into China with stops in other Asian states like Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.