Hainan Airlines A330 aircraft from Changsha lands at Sydney Airport in Sydney, Australia, Sept. 13, 2016. (Xinhua/Zhu Hongye)
BELGRADE, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Hainan Airlines launched their first flight to Serbia's capital on Friday with a ceremony to mark the occasion at Belgrade Airport.
The airline's first airplane to arrive in Belgrade, as an extension of its existing flight to Prague, was awaited by Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, Transport Minister Zorana Mihajlovic, Chinese Ambassador to Serbia Li Manchang and representatives of Chinese companies in Serbia.
Mihajlovic said at the ceremony that Hainan Airlines was one of the best airliners in the world and that by modernizing the infrastructure, the airport would have an opportunity to attract more of such companies.
"I am especially satisfied because 200 passengers arrived and got the chance to see and get to know Serbia, and that we will be able to go much more often to China," she said
Thanking Hainan Airlines for "believing in Belgrade and Serbia", Brnabic said that the trade balance between China and Serbia has increased by 10 percent in the first seven months of this year comparing to 2016, and Serbia wishes to become the central country within the Belt and Road Initiative.
The company launched its Beijing-Prague flight in September 2015 to boost cultural and economic exchange between China and the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region, and decided to extend it to Belgrade in order to strengthen this exchange and cooperation.
The new route from Beijing to Belgrade via Prague includes two flights per week, on Mondays and Fridays.