The first direct flight linking Portugal to China was launched in Lisbon to start July 25. The new route will originate in Hangzhou, capital city of Zhejiang Province, with a stopover in Beijing to its final destination in Lisbon. There will be three flights between Portugal and China per week.
Carried out by Beijing based Capital Airlines, the new route is a significant step in the relations between the two countries as part of the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China in 2013.
The new operation will promote tourism, trade and cultural exchange between the two countries and strengthen connections with China and the Portuguese-speaking countries.
Currently China is the third-largest trading partner amongst the Portuguese-speaking countries, with total trade of US$3.9 billion.
Also, aiming to offer more advantages to passengers travelling between China and Portugal, Tap Air Portugal and Beijing Capital Airlines have recently unveiled plans to launch codeshare flights, effective from July 26. In addition, a new route from Beijing to Macao will be opened by Capital Airlines.
According to Tourismo de Lisboa, Lisbon’s official tourism association, the numbers of Chinese tourists visiting Portugal increased 19 percent in 2016 compared to 2015, with 183,000 arrivals. Some 200,000 Chinese tourist visited Portugal recorded last year.
Portugal and China can trace their trade relations back to 1514. The two countries have established a strategic partnership in 2005. Currently, economic and trade relations between China and Portugal are at their best time in history across various fields in recent years.