Air route launched between Hangzhou, Beijing, Lisbon

Updated 2017-07-26 15:12:13 Xinhua

An air route between Hangzhou, Beijing and Lisbon was inaugurated Tuesday, the first direct flight connecting the capitals of China and Portugal.

An A330 aircraft took off at 7:10 p.m. at Xiaoshan International Airport of Hangzhou, capital of eastern China's Zhejiang Province, marking the launch of the air service.

It was expected to arrive in Lisbon 13 hours later.

The flight is scheduled three times per week, departing from Hangzhou on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

The route is operated by the Beijing-based Capital Airlines, a subsidiary of Hainan Airlines.

"I finally don't need to take any connection flights via other European countries," said Filipe Martins, a Portuguese designer working in Hangzhou.

He has decided to bring his Chinese girlfriend to celebrate Christmas with his family in Lisbon.

Xu Mingye, general manager of Hangzhou branch of Capital Airlines, said the company selected Hangzhou as the terminal city because more than half the Chinese people in Portugal are from Zhejiang Province.

Zhan Liang, a Chinese media worker in Lisbon, was among the first passengers on the flight.

"Previously, I had to spend 20 hours to return home, transferring via cities like London or Hong Kong. The new route has cut the flight duration to only 13 hours, with a ticket price of only 500 euros (580 U.S. dollars)," he said before takeoff.

Zhan said he often traveled between the two countries for business, and the morning arrival in Lisbon was convenient for him to travel on to other Portuguese-speaking countries in South America.

Trade between China and Portugal surged up 28.2 percent year on year to 5.58 billion U.S. dollars in 2016.

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