Finnair, a Finland-based airline, is offering direct connectivity between Europe and inland Chinese destinations.
The airline is to connect Helsinki, the Finnish capital, to Chongqing, one of the fastest-growing cities in China. The new route, the first from any European carrier, is claiming to be the fastest connection between Europe and China.
Chongqing is located in the Tibetan plateau, and has a total population of 32 million, although its population is expected to double in size over the next five years.
The airline chief executive officer, Mika Vehvilainen, said, ‘China is a key part of our Asia-Europe strategy. Western China is an important growth area, and the new route will strengthen our position in the growing Asian markets. I want to thank the Chongqing authorities and the local airport for the excellent cooperation and support for opening this new route. We believe Chongqing has the potential of developing into a hub for travel between Western China and Europe, both for business and leisure travellers.’
Chongqing is the hub of a number of major Chinese industries, as well as for Western companies dealing with electronics, automotive industries and chemicals. Chongqing Airport has recently opened 140 routes to around 80 cities in China and Asia, and continues to expand at a rapid pace.
The Finnish airline is flying Airbus A330 and A340 aircraft on the new route, covering the distance in eight and a half hours. Other Chinese destinations served by Finnair are daily flights to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong from Helsinki.