Chinese airline Juneyao Air is launching direct flights from Shanghai to Athens in Greece, starting July 2020.
The announcement for the new route was announced by Greek authorities, following Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis' three-day visit to China last week, which saw a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to increase air connectivity between the two nations, signed.
With the agreement, the number of flights connecting China and Greece will effectively increase to 35 per week from the current 14 weekly services.
The new Juneyao flight will operate three times a week using a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
The proposed schedule, still subject to change, will see Juneyao Air depart Shanghai Pudong at 00:25, arriving in Athens at 07:40 (local time) — to be operated Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
Flights departing Athens to Shanghai, meanwhile, will depart 13:15, arriving 04:55 (+1 day) at Shanghai Pudong International Airport, also to be operated on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
The new direct flight will boost the number of Chinese tourists to Greece. GTP, a Greek media, reported that in 2018, only 125,000 Chinese visited the country, from the 1.4 million Chinese who travelled internationally.
Quoting Greek Secretary-General for Tourism Konstantinos Loulis, the publication said the goal is to raise the number of Chinese tourists to 500,000.
At present, only Air China flies directly between China and Greece offering thrice-weekly service from Athens to Beijing.
Following the signing of the MoU between Greek and Chinese officials, more direct flights connecting the two nations are expected to be announced.