The Chinese airline Hainan Airlines will launch direct flights between Brussels Airport and Shanghai Pudong International Airport in the course of 2017. The new direct flight will facilitate existing investment and export opportunities for both countries and also create new ones. During the official visit led by Prime Minister Charles Michel, Hainan Airlines and Brussels Airport Company signed a letter of intent for further collaboration. “The non-stop connection between Brussels and Shanghai gives additional growth opportunities to both economies. The distance between the two cities will become smaller, facilitating direct commercial relations and stimulating tourism. This flight will in itself create more than 100 direct jobs in Belgium and many more indirectly. The extensive network out of Brussels Airport to other European destinations and to Africa offers additional opportunities for business travellers and tourists from the Shanghai region”, says Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport Company. “This is an excellent moment to launch direct flights between Shanghai and Brussels. There is a growing interest from the business communities in both countries. In recent years, Shanghai has become a particularly attractive investment destination due to its significantly improved market position and a flourishing local market. Belgium has had a strong link with Shanghai for many years. Business leaders in both countries are reacting very positively to this new direct connection”, says Sun Jianfeng, Lead Executive of Hainan Airlines. Hainan Airlines previously operated a direct flight between Brussels and Shanghai from May 2010 to December 2011 on the occasion of the World Exposition in Shanghai and has now decided to soon launch direct flight on a permanent basis. Further details as to frequency, schedule, type of aircraft and exact launch date will be communicated in coming weeks. Mr Sun Jianfeng, Lead Executive of Hainan Airlines and Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport Company, have signed a declaration of intent for the new service in the presence of the Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel. The declaration of intent between Hainan Airlines and Brussels Airport Company even goes an important step further. Both partners will collaborate in efforts towards the future daily operation of the routes to both Beijing and Shanghai. Moreover both companies will continue to look at further development opportunities within the HNA Group. About Brussels Airport Brussels Airport is one of the largest airports in Europe, handling 23.5 million passengers and 489,000 tonnes of freight annually. Brussels Airport links the European capital with 226 destinations worldwide that are served by 77 different airlines. (figures 2015). Brussels Airport caters for the specific needs of the business travellers, and also has the largest low-fare offer in Belgium. Brussels Airport is the second most important centre of economic growth in Belgium providing direct and indirect employment for 60,000 people. Brussels Airport is operated by Brussels Airport Company. The shareholders are the Belgian State (25 percent) and a consortium of private investors (75 percent).