China’s Private Airline Company Capital Airlines on Friday resumed its direct flights between Portugal and China.

With more than 170 passengers on board, JD430 conducted the first flight of the new route from Lisbon to Beijing via Xi’an.

The resumption of direct flights illustrates a strong cooperation and friendship between the two peoples, Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Portugal Xu Zhida said during a ceremony before the departure of the flight.

Direct flights will facilitate mutual understanding between the two peoples and set up a bridge between the two cultures, said the Chinese diplomat, adding that it will inject new vitality into bilateral cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative.

Felipe Sliva, a board member of Tourism of Portugal, said that the resumption of direct flights will certainly bring more Chinese tourists into Portugal.

According to Sliva, the number of Chinese tourist arrivals have increased at a rate of 20 percent over the past several years.

The air route is operated by Capital Airlines, using an Airbus A330 aircraft. Three round trips are scheduled every week on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. The flight leaves Lisbon at 10:45 p.m. local time.

Capital Airlines opened the Lisbon-Beijing-Hangzhou route on July 26, 2017, the first flight between Portugal and China. However, the company suspended the flights last October.