China’s Hainan Airlines will launch a direct flight between Budapest and the southwestern Chinese megalopolis of Chongqing from Dec. 27, the foreign affairs and trade minister said in Budapest on Wednesday.
Speaking at a press conference at Budapest’s Liszt Ferenc Airport, Péter Szijjártó said Hungarian-Chinese relations were at an all-time high, as evidenced by the fact that China is Hungary’s largest business partner outside the European Union. The volume of bilateral trade rose by 10 percent last year to close to 9 billion dollars, he added.
Szijjártó said the new flight will be the 13th direct air link between the two countries.
The number of Chinese tourists visiting Hungary has increased four-fold between 2010 and 2018, he said, adding that Hungary received some 210,000 Chinese tourists just in the first nine months of this year.
He said the Chongqing area accounted for 10 percent of China’s auto industry output, adding that the new direct flight would also be an important link for the Hungarian auto industry and investors.
Min Zhang, who will head Hainan Airlines’ Budapest office, said flights will operate twice a week between Budapest and Chongqing.
Hainan Airlines used to operate flights between Budapest and Beijing but the carrier terminated the service shortly after the 2012 bankruptcy of Hungarian airlines Malev.