China's Hainan Airlines announced on Tuesday its first ever direct flight connecting the Belgian capital of Brussels with China's Shenzhen, one of the fastest growing cities in the world.
It will be the third direct air routes of Hainan Airlines between Belgium and China. The direct flights would start on Tuesday, and then take place every Tuesdays and Thursdays.
According to a press release from the Belgian Foreign Ministry, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Didier Reynders welcomed the decision of Hainan Airlines.
At an opening ceremony in the Brussels airport, Chinese Ambassador to Belgium Qu Xing also praised the initiative as a "concrete step to prove China's commitment to deepen and extend cooperation with Belgium".
In an interview with Xinhua, the ambassador noted how such initiatives can drive tourism flows both from China into Belgium and vice-versa. "More flights mean more contacts between Chinese and Belgian people. This is exactly the spirit and expression of the Belt and Road Initiative".
"With the opening of a direct flight from Brussels to Shenzhen, more Belgians will travel to Shenzhen. As a city with vibrant business trade and technology industry, it is full of business opportunities. The opening of routes will not only promote tourism, but also provide great convenience for the exchange of technology and trade," said Qu.
Hainan Airlines had launched its first direct flight from Brussels to Beijing in 2006, and that from Brussels to Shanghai in 2017.