Feature: New Beijing-Mexico City flight spotlights growing bilateral ties

Source: Xinhua| 2018-03-23 11:05:38|Editor: Liangyu
Video PlayerClose

by Edna Alcantara and Wu Hao

MEXICO CITY, March 22 (Xinhua) -- China's Hainan Airlines has inaugurated the first direct Beijing-Mexico City flight operated by a Chinese airline, underscoring growing bilateral ties between the two countries.

In keeping with aviation tradition, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner was met late Wednesday at the Mexico City International Airport with a water salute. Two fire trucks positioned on each side of the landing strip sprayed a high arch of water over the aircraft.

Nearby, a mariachi band played typical folkloric music.

Officials from both countries hope increased air connections will help boost trade and investment, as well as bilateral cultural ties.

The flight "will offer important possibilities to continue to promote trade, investment and tourism, and to continue to deepen cultural contact and mutual understanding," Mexico's Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs Carlos de Icaza said at the inaugural ceremony held at the airport.

China is Mexico's second-leading trade partner and one of its top foreign investors, said the official.

The two countries have elevated bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership, through which "we have succeeded in taking the bilateral relationship to a place of great understanding, of fruitful political dialogue, of close friendship between two countries, and of great endeavors that ensure a promising future and ... magnificent ties wherein connectivity plays a very important role," said De Icaza.

Qiu Xiaoqi, China's ambassador to Mexico, echoed that China-Mexico ties have flourished in the past five years.

For China, "Mexico is a very important partner, not just in Latin America, but also worldwide," said Qiu.

Bilateral exchanges have increased in several areas, such as the field of culture, to help strengthen mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples, which has laid "a solid base" for cooperation, Qiu added.

"With this new flight we are going to see more business and tourism flows, and in this way, the two countries will be able to get closer each day," said Qiu.

Xu Jun, president of Hainan Airlines Holding Co Ltd, said the flight consolidates the airline's presence in the Latin American market.

It also underlines China's "dedication to the Belt and Road Initiative, and determination to speed up the construction of an aerial network between China and (the rest of) the world," said Xu.

The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by China in 2013, aims to build trade and infrastructure networks connecting Asia with Europe and Africa, and beyond, along the ancient Silk Road trade routes to seek common development and prosperity.

Starting flight operations in 1993, Hainan Airlines has rolled out over 1,400 domestic and international routes from and to more than 110 cities across Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania.

The new route will run three times a week, making a brief stopover in northwest Mexico's border city of Tijuana.

As one of the routes linking China and Mexico, the route joins Mexican national airline Aeromexico's flights to Shanghai and China Southern Airline's flights from Guangzhou to Mexico City via Vancouver.