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Hainan Airlines inaugurates Rome-Chongqing direct flight

Updated: 2015-04-29

Xinhua

ROME - Hainan Airlines, China's first private carrier and the country's fourth largest, inaugurated a Rome-Chongqing direct flight on Monday.

This new route makes Rome's Leonardo da Vinci the first European airport to be connected by a Chinese airline to Chongqing, largest city in Southwest China, and "the gateway to China's central and western provinces".

Until now, the only connection to Chongqing was a Finnair flight from Helsinki. During the last few years, Aeroporti di Roma (ADR), the Rome Airport authorities has striven to increase connections with Asia countries, especially China, through new commercial strategies, products and dedicated services.

The results have been "constant growth in passenger volumes to and from Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, through both direct and stopover flights," the company wrote in a release. "In 2014, Rome airport recorded approximately 540,000 passengers, up 10 percent from 2013 and 60 percent over the last four years," it said.

This considerable increase in passenger traffic was mainly due to the rise in direct flights, like Hainan Airlines' Rome-Chongqing connection, which schedules two weekly flights from Chongqing on an Airbus A330 with 260 seats in business and economy.

The actual flights are only one aspect of ADR's recent program for welcome to Chinese passengers, which includes airport signage in Chinese, free bottled water in all cafes and restaurants, and a Chinese version of the smartphone-friendly website providing tourist and service information.

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