China's first direct air passenger route to Latin America starts services

The first direct passenger flight between China and Mexico landed in Mexico City on Saturday after a 16-hour journey, marking the official opening of China's first direct passenger route to Latin America without any stopover, China Southern Airlines said on Saturday.

The flight, which runs from Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province, to Mexico City twice per week, covers more than 14,000 kilometers, the longest direct international route in China and also one of the 10 longest direct flights in the world, the airline said.

Previously, Chinese passengers flying from China to Mexico or other Latin American countries had to make one or two transfers or stopovers at other airports in North America, Europe or the Middle East, and the journey could take as long as 30 to 40 hours.

Mexico has a long history and rich tourism resources, and is one of the biggest outbound tourism destinations for Chinese citizens. The country is China's second-largest trading partner in Latin America.

The opening of this route facilitates personnel exchanges and builds a bridge for continued exchanges and deepened cooperation in the fields of tourism, the economy, culture and other fields, market watchers said.
China Southern Airlines attributes the demand for the route to rising China-Latin America economic, trade, development and personnel exchanges, which will further promote high-level opening-up.

Data from the General Administration of Customs of China showed that China-Latin America trade exceeded $489 billion in 2023, a year-on-year increase of 1.1 percent.

So far, 22 Latin American countries have signed cooperation agreements with China on the Belt and Road Initiative, deepening and strengthening cooperation in various fields, such as infrastructure construction, trade, investment, finance and tourism.

For example, a free trade agreement between China and Ecuador took effect on May 1, aiming to further unleash the potential of trade and investment cooperation.

The Shenzhen-Mexico City route is the third intercontinental route operated by China Southern Airlines from Shenzhen. The airline currently operates 13 international and regional routes, including three intercontinental routes from Shenzhen to Mexico City, Sydney and Moscow.

China Southern previously announced that it will launch a direct flight from Shenzhen to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on June 3.

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