Year of Dragon sees closer air links between China, Europe

Year of Dragon

The Chinese Lunar New Year of the Dragon began not only with festive celebrations across Europe, but also with closer air links to China — a sign of economic recovery.

Air China has announced that it will launch daily flights between Barcelona and Beijing starting from March 31. The company returned to the Spanish city with three weekly flights in June 2023, following a three-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marta Ortiz, a Spanish representative for Air China, said the company has noticed “a big change … the prospects for the next few months are good.”

China’s new initiative exempting Spanish passport holders from the need for a visa for short-term travels to China has also boosted the recovery of flights between the two countries, Ortiz added.

Air China already has a daily flight to Beijing from Madrid airport, where Hainan Airlines runs two weekly flights to Chongqing, and China Eastern Airlines runs five weekly flights to both Shanghai and Wenzhou.

Meanwhile, Cathay Pacific will resume direct flights to Hong Kong in June. The first direct flights between Barcelona and Hong Kong began in 2017, but were suspended due to the pandemic.

The resumption of the connection with Hong Kong will begin on June 17, with flights every Monday, Thursday and Saturday.

Cathay Pacific resumed flights between Madrid and Hong Kong at the end of 2022, with three weekly flights on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. The airline has announced it is “delighted to now incorporate Barcelona again.”

Athens International Airport (AIA) in Greece is ready to welcome more Chinese tourists by providing more tourism information in Chinese, placing Chinese-speaking employees at duty-free shops, and accepting payments by Alipay, said AIA’s Director of Communications and Marketing Ioanna Papadopoulou.

AIA expects more tourists from China this year, as Air China will launch more flights to Athens. Juneyao Airlines will also begin operating in early April, linking the Greek capital with Shanghai. “We are looking forward to a very happy Chinese New Year with lots of Chinese travelers,” Papadopoulou said.


By jjavaid