“It is important to Hungary that China’s Silk Road concept, the One Belt, One Road Initiative (BRI), is not only present in maritime and land transport, but also in air transport”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said in a Statement to Hungarian News Agency from Beijing on Saturday following talks with the Directors of major Chinese Companies.

With relation to Air travel, Mr. Szijjártó announced that new Air Routes are being established in addition to the existing direct flights linking Beijing & Budapest.

A direct air passenger service between Shanghai and Budapest will be launched on 7 June, which will fly three times-a-week. In addition, negotiations are also ongoing on new routes to three other Chinese cities.

The Minister stressed that the new service to Shanghai will play an important role in economic cooperation, in addition to which it could further increase tourist traffic, which already set a new record last year: 256 thousand Chinese tourists visited Hungary, an unprecedented number, and an increase of 32 percent was already registered in January of this year.

“An important part of the One Belt, One Road Initiative is the development of infrastructure links between Europe and Asia, and this is also in Hungary’s interests in view of the fact that transport links are necessary for free and unhindered global trade”, Mr. Szijjártó explained during his negotiations with the directors of ZTE and Henan Civil Aviation Development and Investment Co. Ltd. (HNCA).

“It is however vital from the perspective of the development of Chinese-Hungarian trade relations that freight transport capacities also appear in air transport”, he continued, explaining that the regular cargo flight between Zhengzhou and Budapest launched three weeks ago is extremely important from this perspective.

“The high freight transport capacity Boeing airliners are flying twice a week between Budapest and Zhengzhou, which is the capital of a province that has a population of 100 million and an important economic-commercial hub”, he told the press, highlighting the fact that this direct air link enables the fastest possible shipment of goods between Hungary and China, which is a prerequisite for the further expansion of commercial relations.

Mr. Szijjártó also said that the construction of the Budapest-Belgrade railway line and this air freight link has led to Chinese logistics companies planning the establishment of a large logistics and warehouse centre in Budapest, near the airport, which would further reinforce Hungary’s role in European-Asian and European-Chinese trade cooperation.