By Gemma Greenwood
Air China looks to maximise traffic from the Middle East and Africa in time for Olympic Games.
Air China has revealed plans to create a second hub in Dubai in order to feed traffic from Asia to the Middle East and through to Africa.
The Beijing-based carrier, which currently operates four flights a week between Dubai and China's capital, hinted that a twin-hub strategy could be enforced as early as 2008, in time for next summer's Olympic Games in Beijing.
"Air China has big plans for this region in terms of making Dubai a huge hub," Atty Kurian, sales manager (Middle East) at Air China, told
Arabian Travel News
"This should happen before next year's summer schedule is announced."
He said Air China would eye routes from Dubai to key Middle East and Africa hubs.
Air China started operating between Dubai and Beijing in 2004. Load factors on the route hit the 60% mark in 2005 and last year averaged 79%, according to Kurian.
"This year we are looking to reach 86%," he added.
Labour traffic and business travellers make up the loads, although the leisure component is growing slowly but steadily, he said.
Kurian also revealed that Air China planned to establish a medical tourism division to harness the interest in traditional Chinese medicine and therapy.