Greece’s State Minister Alekos Flambouraris announced that China’s national air carrier Air China will start direct flights from Beijing to Athens as of September this year.
The much anticipated news was announced following a meeting on Tuesday between Flambouraris and Chinese Ambassador to Greece Zou Xiaoli at Maximos Mansion.
During the meeting the two men also discussed the presence of Chinese companies in the coming Thessaloniki International Fair that will kick off on September 9, and where China is the honoured country.
Flambouraris and Xiaoli also focused on the program and the agenda of talks between Greece and a Chinese delegation headed by Xu Lingyi, responsible on issues of tackling corruption.
The news comes at a time that Greece is experiencing a dramatic increase in international visits on all fronts including the 14 regional airports managed by the Fraport-led consortium.
According to data the 14 regional airports experienced a 14.1% increase in the first seven months compared with the same period of 2016, with the total number reaching 10,662 million passengers versus 9,334 million passengers in the same period last year.
In July alone, passenger traffic increased 10.3%, which corresponds to 4,157 million passengers from abroad, compared with 3.769 million in 2016.
All 14 airports recorded an increase this year, which signifies a positive dynamic for Greek tourism.
In Kos, numbers show the recent earthquake did not dent tourist arrivals last month. The island’s airport recorded a significant 18.8 % increase in July and 22.1% in the year-to-date.
At the same time, international passenger arrivals at the airport in Mytilene posted a whopping 57 percent jump in the first seven months of the year, with 56.7000 tourists visiting the island.
The island with the highest passenger traffic in the year-to-date was Rhodes, which recorded 2.24 million passengers versus two million in the same period last year, posting a 7.7% rise.
The airport of Thessaloniki follows, with a 22.8 % increase in international arrivals and 2.1 million passengers from January to July.