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Joint efforts made to attract more Chinese travelers

Updated: 2014-09-03 09:09
By Zhao Lei (China Daily)

Foreign airports and airlines are lining up to cooperate with Beijing Capital International Airport to attract more Chinese travelers, industry leaders said on Tuesday.

"The Chinese market is extremely important to us. The Chicago Department of Aviation is looking forward to working collaboratively with the Beijing airport to bring more air services and travelers to both cities, which is important for job creation and economic development," said Rosemarie Andolino, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Aviation.

At a forum for airport CEOs on Tuesday in the Chinese capital, she said Chicago O'Hare International Airport established "sister" ties with Beijing Capital International Airport in 2011.

Last year, the two airports worked with Hainan Airlines, one of the biggest carriers in China, to open a direct service from Beijing to Chicago, the first direct air link between the two cities connected by a Chinese airline.

"There are more and more Chinese that are traveling and it is important for them to fly with carriers that they trust," she said. "So bringing them the new direct flight by a mainland airline was one of the major accomplishments of our cooperation."

The collaboration has also helped in the cross-marketing of Beijing and Chicago to travelers from both countries, the commissioner added.

Andolino said her department has helped airports in Chicago offer translation services to Chinese travelers and that it will hire more Chinese-speaking employees.

Robert Deillon, CEO of Geneva International Airport and president of the Swiss International Airports Association, said his airport has been striving to attract more direct flights from Beijing in recent years by working closely with Beijing Capital International Airport.

Last year, he helped secure the first direct service from Beijing to Geneva with Air China, the nation's flag-carrier, which is based at Beijing airport.

"Beijing airport has helped us promote the direct route and to understand the needs of the Chinese market and Chinese passengers. It also promotes Beijing as a transfer hub for Geneva airport to Shanghai, Hong Kong and other destinations in Asia," he said.

He added that Geneva airport has seen a surge in the number of Chinese travelers. "We have hired 20 Chinese students to assist Chinese passengers at our airport and trained our staff to understand simple Chinese words and manners," he said.

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