Milan-Shanghai flight to establish very important bridge: Alitalia chairman
Updated: 2015-05-05 09:36
MILAN - Italian national airline Alitalia on Monday presented a new non-stop service between Milan and Shanghai, which marks its return in China and a further stage in the development of its Asian connections.
The flight was launched with the inauguration of Expo Milano 2015, the world exposition which kicked off on Friday in the Italian northern city.
Airbus 330 aircraft with 250 seats flies three round-trips each week between the two cities, departing from Milan Malpensa every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, and from Shanghai's Pudong Airport every Monday, Thursday and Saturday.
"This route is important for Alitalia," Chairman of Alitalia Luca Cordero di Montezemolo told a news conference in Milan. Only a few years ago, when he was at the helm of Italy's leading industrial association Confindustria, local businessmen complained that their Chinese colleagues had to stop at various airports in Europe to reach Italy, he noted.
"Today China represents a fundamental market for our country, which must aim at growth of Chinese investments and tourism," Cordero di Montezemolo added.
"I believe that the Milan-Shanghai flight, that will be followed by a Rome-Beijing one, will establish a very important bridge. There is hunger for China in Italy," he stressed.
The launch of the new route followed the recent introduction of direct flights from Venice to Abu Dhabi and from Milan to Abu Dhabi. New routes from Rome to Seoul and from Rome to Beijing will be introduced in the coming few months.
Alitalia CEO Silvano Cassano said the new connections are part of Alitalia's strategy to strengthen its range of intercontinental routes in particular to the Far East, the area of the world with the highest growth rates and where Alitalia intends to further invest.
As part of its 2015 summer schedule, Alitalia flies to 102 destinations, including 27 Italian and 75 international destinations, with a total of 164 routes and about 4,500 weekly flights.
Alitalia and Etihad Airways have been named Official Global Airline Carriers of Expo Milano 2015.