World / Europe

Spain's airline to launch direct flight to China

By Li Jing ( Updated: 2016-01-25 16:55

Iberia, Spain's largest airline, announced recently it will launch non-stop services between Shanghai and Madrid during the next winter season.

In the airline's statement, Iberia says it expects to begin operations during the 2016/2017 winter season, and has started negotiations with Chinese authorities to request the necessary permits. Iberia will use the A330-200, its most modern aircraft, on the route.

Currently there are no direct flights between Shanghai and Madrid, so the route is expected to bring an enormous improvement in connection opportunities between the two cities. Luis Gallego, the airline’s executive chairman, says that via its Madrid hub, Iberia will connect Shanghai with all of Spain, Europe, North Africa and Latin America.

Spain is the third-most visited country in the world and it received a record high 64.99 million international tourists in 2014, according to the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2015. Of that number,some 290,000 were from China.

Spain is looking to lure more Chinese tourists and wants to treble that number in the next five years. The low frequency of direct flights between the two countries is seen as the key to boosting growth, industry insiders said.

As of now, Air China is the only airline to fly direct from Spain to China, with four flights per week between Beijing and Madrid and one between Beijing and Barcelona.

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