THE Experience Penang 2020 campaign was given a boost with direct flights from Shenzhen, China, by Shenzhen Airlines.
The inaugural flight from the fifth largest carrier in China landed at Penang International Airport with 153 passengers.
The plane was welcomed with a water salute to mark the special event.
The new route offers weekly flights on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Shenzhen Airlines customer management centre director Zhang Yu said the direct flights would further promote business and tourism on both sides.
“We have 220 aircraft plying nearly 300 routes with 80,000 passengers per day.
“The first flight from Shenzhen to Malaysia was the Shenzhen-Kuala Lumpur flight some time ago, ” said Zhang in his speech at a reception to mark the inaugural flight on Wednesday.
Penang tourism, development, arts, culture and heritage committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin said he was happy that direct connectivity between Shenzhen and Penang had been realised.
“We plan to capitalise on the direct flights by exchanging strategic ideas to boost the tourism markets of Penang and Shenzhen, ” he said.
Chinese consul-general to Penang Lu Shiwei said travellers had been looking forward to the direct flights.
Present at the ceremony were Penang Global Tourism chief executive officer Ooi Chok Yan, Malaysian Chinese Tourism Association national president Datuk Albert Tan, Malaysia Airports airlines marketing senior manager Zainuddin Mohamed and Pos Aviation line station head Danny Ng.