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Direct Zurich-Beijing flights to restart

Edelweiss Air is to operate a weekly direct flight from Zurich to Beijing this summer in partnership with Swiss International Air Lines.

The two airlines said on Monday that the flights would start on July 7 and end on October 14, provided they obtain the necessary rights.

Swiss spokesman Jean-Claude Donzel told that the new flight is aimed chiefly at the tourist trade.

Agreements had been made with Swiss and Chinese tourist agencies, but tickets will also be available for sale to individuals, he said.

China, with its increasingly wealthy population, is one of the target areas of the Swiss tourism industry. In 2009 – when the overall number of foreign visitors to Switzerland fell by over four per cent – the number of overnight stays by Chinese visitors, although still small, was up by 27 per cent.

Donzel also said that Swiss is to increase its direct flights to Shanghai from six to seven a week this summer. This is the route favoured by businessmen, who require greater flexibility. 

Swiss scrapped its flights to Beijing in 2003 as part of a thorough reorganisation, despite the fact that they were economically viable. It resumed non-stop flights to Shanghai in May 2008, and it also serves Hong Kong.

Swiss bought the operating rights to Edelweiss Air from the travel agency Kuoni in 2008. Swiss itself was bought by the German carrier Lufthansa in 2005.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR