San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has become the first US airport with a Chinese-language website, featuring real-time tracking of arrivals and departures, information about shopping, restaurants, services and public transportation. Launched last month, the site in simplified Chinese also connects seamlessly to mobile devices, according to Doug Yakel, the airport’s public information officer.
“Having the website hosted on a Chinese platform is a big advantage for users in the Chinese mainland, as they will enjoy increased delivery speed and more reliable service,” said Yakel.
The airport has wanted to add more foreign-language content for some time.
“When SFO re-launched its website last August, we included buttons providing very basic navigation in eight other languages. However, the Chinese-language website is the first website that provides full content,” Yakel said.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said the website “further connects our city with China, strengthens the economic and cultural ties between our two regions, while providing our diverse communities and travelers with an easier way to make our city and SFO their destination of choice.”
Yakel said that the airport serves more destinations to Asia than any other in the US and sees continued strong demand to markets in China, with new airlines like China Eastern to Shanghai and Wuhan, along with new routes from the US to Chengdu, the first non-stop flight from the US to China’s interior.
Air China has a flight every day between San Francisco and Beijing, with more than 400 Chinese passengers on the carrier arriving or departing from the airport, said Han Liang, sales manager of Air China’s San Francisco office. Han said the airport should have signs in Chinese and more bilingual service personnel at information booths to assist non-English speaking passengers.