Air China launched a new direct flight between China’s largest city Shanghai and Athens on Thursday at Athens International Airport (AIA), the first direct flight between the two cities.
Passengers were welcomed by Air China and AIA officials with balloons, desserts and a mascot during an event at the check-in area.
It is one of two direct flights operated by Air China each week, linking Greece to China.
The Athens-Beijing direct air link, inaugurated in 2017, was suspended in the winter of 2020 due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and resumed this summer.
Air China flights are “one of the most important developments” for Athens airport
Ioanna Papadopoulou, AIA’s director of communications and marketing, told Xinhua that the launch of Air China’s operations between Shanghai and Athens was “one of the most important developments for AIA, for the city and the country.”
The Chinese market was very important to AIA just before the pandemic, as it was one of the fastest developing markets, she said.
“We hope and wish that in 2023 this is going to be one of our most successful operations. We missed China and we missed Chinese travelers a lot,” she added.
Air China is one of the “Big Three” mainland Chinese airlines, alongside China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines.
Greece and China signed a deal in May 2022 with the goal of strengthening tourism between the two countries in the future.
The joint action plan between the two countries runs for two years, from 2022 to 2024, and is aimed at bolstering the relationship between Greece and China in the tourism sector, specifically in terms of cultural, medical, and wedding tourism.
Athens airport has recently been crowned the ultimate best in Europe according to rankings from user review ratings on Google compiled by Holidu, a British search engine for holiday rentals.
Being Greece’s main and largest airport, the Eleftherios Venizelos – Athens International Airport scored a whopping 4.4 stars out of 5 from 24,467 reviews.
According to Holidu, “Greece has gotten by relativity unscathed from the European flight mania, with most of the delays being experienced at the departing airports with inbound flights to Greece.”
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