Direct flights start between Prague and Chengdu

New semi-weekly route is the third connecting China and the Czech Republic

Direct flights from Chengdu, China, to Prague began today, with the first flight from Sichuan Airlines scheduled to arrive at Prague's Václav Havel Airport at 5:15 pm and depart at 7:15 pm. It is the third direct air link between Prague and China, following routes starting in Shanghai and Beijing. Overall, some 90,000 tourists are expected to travel directly between the two countries this year.

Flights between Chengdu and Prague will take place on Tuesdays and Fridays, and will use an Airbus A330-200 with a capacity of 272 passengers.

Service between Prague and Beijing began Sept. 23, 2015, with carrier Hainan operating the route three times a week using a Boeing 767 carrying 223 passengers. A Prague to Shanghai route began June 23, 2016, with China Eastern Airlines flying the route three times a week with an A330-200 carrying 262 passengers.

The Czech Republic is becoming a hub for Chinese investment, and Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Prague at the end of March 2016 to in part oversee the implementation of new trade deals and strategic cooperation. State agency CzechTourism has also launched special programs to promote travel not only to Prague but also to other Czech locations.

During the first half of 2016, Václav Havel Airport Prague handled a total of 5,588,971 passengers, an increase of 355,000 passengers on the year. An increase of 6 percent is expected for the whole year.

June 30, 2016, was the busiest day of the first half of the year with 49,859 passengers handled.

The increased volume of passengers transported during the first half of the year is due to new services which were not operated during the same period of the previous year (e.g. Beijing, Liverpool, Eindhoven, Marseille, Toulouse, Luxemburg) and to increased capacity of individual services offered, predominantly to traditional destinations, such as London and Amsterdam. Since the launch of the new Prague Airport incentive scheme in 2015, the airport by the end of June 2016 had seen 12 new carriers launch their operations on the Czech market as well as the launches of more than 50 new regular scheduled services, including flights to 38 new or renewed destinations, not counting the new Prague to Chengdu route, which opened after the monitored timeframe.

The most-visited country based on the number of passengers was Britain, while the most popular airport was Paris/Charles de Gaulle during the first six months of the year.

Cargo transport has also recorded a significant year-on-year growth. Over 33,000 tons of cargo was transported during the first half of the year, which is 42.6 percent more than during the same period last year. The overall cargo business results were influenced by the capacity of new carriers such as UPS and Qatar Cargo, by supplementary cargo loads on the new service to Beijing and by the increased capacity of the Seoul route, the company Prague Airport (Letiště Praha) announced.

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