SFO expands direct service to China

San Francisco International Airport is expanding its service to China this December with nonstop service via China Southern Airlines to Wuhan, Guangdong Province, according to airport officials.

SFO previously served Wuhan via China Eastern Airlines, but flights stopped in Shanghai before continuing to Wuhan. The new flights by China Southern Airlines to Wuhan will also serve Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province.

The new service starts Dec. 16, airport officials said.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said in a statement:

“San Francisco is pleased to welcome China Southern Airlines, and we are more than confident that this flight will be highly successful based on the strong commerce and cultural ties between Guangdong Province and our Bay Area region.”

Lee traces his roots to the province, as do 80 percent of Chinese Americans in San Francisco. Guangdong Province is in southern China, located next to Hong Kong and Macau. Guangdong has become the most prosperous province in China, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

China Southern Airlines will operate three nonstop flights per week to Wuhan on Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. Return flights will end at SFO via Wuhan. SFO airport director John Martin said the new service establishes SFO as the premier U.S. gateway to China.

The airport serves more destinations in China than any other U.S. airport, Martin said. According to SFO’s website, the airport serves seven cities in China either directly or through a major city such as Beijing or Shanghai.

With the addition of Guangzhou, the list will grow to eight. Mayor Lee said the new flights by China Southern Airlines will strengthen the relationship between the people of the Bay Area and the people of Guangdong.

Neither Oakland International Airport nor Mineta San Jose International Airport serves China, according to airport officials.