CHENGDU, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- An Air China airliner carrying 32 passengers and 17 tonnes of cargo took off in southwest China's Chengdu at 1:45 a.m. Beijing time Friday, and landed in Frankfurt in Germany at 5:37 a.m. local time.
It marks the first intercontinental direct flight that has resumed operation in southwest China since the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The air route linking the European air hub and southwest China's biggest airport was reopened following a 21-day suspension due to the epidemic, with two round trips scheduled every Tuesday and Friday.
Liu Feng was among the first batch of passengers. He could not wait to reunite with his family in Frankfurt after a prolonged delay.
"Many international flights have been grounded amid the epidemic. I immediately booked the ticket as soon as the flight resumed. It's much more convenient than transferring via Beijing," said Liu.
The airlines also rolled out a slew of epidemic prevention and control measures to ensure smooth operation. Thorough disinfection of the cabin is conducted before taking off and passengers sit scattered on the flight.
The reopening of the air route is also of great significance to cargo transportation, as Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, is home to many major export-oriented processing companies.
"The reopening of the flight will help enterprises resume work and production and also provide logistics support for the global industry chain," said Jia Bin, general manager of the West China Airfreight Gateway of Sinotrans Global E-commerce Logistics Corporation.