Chinese, Dutch airlines resume direct flights to Beijing

AMSTERDAM, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Chinese, Dutch airlines resumed their direct flights from Amsterdam to Beijing on Sunday after a three-year hiatus due to COVID-19 pandemic.

At a boarding gate at Schiphol Airport to a fully-booked China Southern Airlines flight to Beijing, passengers were presented with colorful wooden tulip flowers as gifts to mark the memorable occasion.

The passengers departed from the Schiphol Airport at 8:40 p.m. local time and were scheduled to arrive at Beijing Daxing International Airport after a 10-hour-flight.

Wilco Sweijen, airline partnerships director at Schiphol Airport, told Xinhua that it was the first time that the airport was having flight between Beijing Daxing and Amsterdam.

"We're very happy with that, because now that the (Chinese) capital is connected again to Amsterdam. That's great," said Sweijen, who was among airport representatives giving out tulip flowers to passengers.

Mack Su, European sales manager of the Chinese airline, told Xinhua that the Amsterdam-Beijing route was disrupted in March 2020 due to COVID-19, and its resumption marked the airline's "comprehensive and accelerated recovery in the China-Europe market."

The new Amsterdam-Beijing Daxing route will start from four weekly flights and increase in accordance with market demand, said Su. Besides the Beijing route, China Southern Airlines also operates flights between Amsterdam and Guangzhou, a metropolis in south China, four times a week.

Also on Sunday, a flight of Dutch airline KLM left Schiphol Airport to Beijing Capital International Airport, marking the resumption of the KLM's flight route to Beijing disrupted by the pandemic.

In an earlier press release, the Dutch airline said it marked the "recovery of the routes from and via Amsterdam to China. The Chinese market is important in KLM's network, due to demand from business travelers."

Sweijen said that the number of flights between the Netherlands and China has now increased to 27 a week from only six about a year ago due to higher passenger flows.

"That's only passenger flights," he stressed, expressing belief that more flights could be added in the near future.

"We see the load factors are good. So we are very happy that it means that there's a big demand for it," he said.

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