Air Route Linking Hunan and Europe to Launch

CHANGSHA, May 4 (Xinhua) -- China Southern Airlines will launch the first direct air route between Germany and central China's Hunan Province, the company announced on Sunday.

The route, which will link Frankfurt, Hunan's provincial capital Changsha and the southern metropolis of Guangzhou, will begin operation on June 23 with three round-trip flights a week, the airline said in a statement.

Using Airbus A330-200 planes, outbound flights will leave every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and take off at 9:30 p.m. from Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province. The plane will arrive in Changsha at 10:45 p.m., and head for Frankfurt 70 minutes later, according to the statement.

The opening of the route will help Hunan travellers save between five and eight hours in transfer time and cut their costs by 1,000 to 3,000 yuan (160 to 479 U.S. dollars). Currently passengers in the province traveling to Europe have to take connecting flights via Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing.

A transfer hall will be set up at Changsha Huanghua International Airport's arrival lounge to speed up transit, the statement said.

The airport will also allow 72-hour transit visa exemptions and facilitate visa applications for Germany.

As the biggest airport in Germany and one of the largest in Europe, Frankfurt Airport is a major air hub for passengers and goods. Official statistics show that Frankfurt is the destination for nearly half of annual Germany-bound travellers from China.

China Southern Airlines is China's largest airline by fleet size.

Source: Yang Yi