Greece, China Agree to Double Number of Flights, Add New Routes

Chinese airliner Juneyao Air Co. will launch direct flights connecting Shanghai to Athens in July, the Greek Tourism Ministry said on Monday.

Juneyao and Greece signed a deal on the new route during a three-day visit by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to Shanghai.

“Of the more than 140 million Chinese tourists who traveled abroad in 2018, only 125,000 visited Greece. Our goal is to quadruple this number immediately, that is to say, bring 500,000 Chinese tourists to visit Greece, which aims to attract at least 1 percent of the Chinese who travel abroad,” said Konstantinos Loulis, Greece’s secretary general for tourism.

“The agreement for a direct Athens-Shanghai air connection will be crucial to achieve that goal,” the Secretary added.

On Sunday, Greece and China signed a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) which will allow their airlines to double the number of flights between the two countries.

The new MoU allows for flights between additional destinations other than just Athens and Beijing. Furthermore, in January of next year, Greece and China are expected to publish an additional agreement that will clarify which additional airlines are allowed to fly between China and Greece.

The new MoU allows for airlines to operate unscheduled charter flights between Greek and Chinese airports as well. Most importantly, the airlines launching the new China-Greece routes will be allowed to operate up to 35 weekly flights between them.