Alitalia began direct, non-stop flights from Rome to Beijing after a three year absence on the route between the two capital cities. Alitalia’s first direct flight from Rome to Beijing took off at 2.20 pm today from Rome’s Fiumicino airport.
The inaugural flight was commentated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Fiumicino airport by Alitalia’s CEO Cramer Ball, the Heritage, Arts and Tourism Minister, Dario Franceschini, the Deputy Mayor of Fiumicino, Anna Maria Anselmi, and the Head of Aviation Marketing Development of Aeroporti di Roma, Fausto Palombelli.
Mr. Ball said: “We have introduced a trio of new intercontinental routes from Rome in 2016 and today’s new service to Beijing joins the recently launched destinations of Santiago and Mexico City, an eight per cent increase in the number of our long haul flights we offer. Alitalia is committed totally to the Chinese market and wants to grow its presence in China. We are a different company than a few years ago: we have made major investments for enhancing products and services; we have put in place important commercial agreements with Chinese partners and we have a strong industrial partnership which supports us in this challenge.
The new service to the Chinese capital city is an important investment for Alitalia as part of our strategic growth to serve long haul destinations for the benefit of business and leisure travellers. Italian exports to China will have the opportunity to rise the air link should encourage the number of tourists from the Far East to Italy.”
The new route will be served four times a week – Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday – departing at 2.20 pm from Rome and landing in Beijing at 6.20 am (local time) the following day. The return flight departs from Beijing every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 9.15 am (local time) and arrives in Rome at 2.25 pm.
Flight times are scheduled to allow Alitalia passengers from 50 cities in Italy, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa to travel to the Chinese capital by taking advantage of convenient connections at Rome Fiumicino, the airline’s main airport for transferring passengers (which obtained the ‘Welcome Chinese Certification’, the only hospitality standard recognized by Chinese authorities and specifically dedicated to Chinese travelers).
Travellers can also connect to many other cities across China from Beijing. Alitalia has special agreements with major Chinese airlines, including SkyTeam partners China Eastern and China Southern*, plus Hainan Airlines*, to serve more than 30 destinations throughout China.
The Airbus A330 aircraft used on the Rome-Beijing service has 250 seats in three cabins; business, premium economy and economy. All classes feature newly renovated interiors and include Wi-Fi connectivity for phone calls, internet and e-mail.
Companies doing business with China will also have the opportunity to send or receive goods more easily as the aircraft has a monthly cargo capacity of 300 tonnes. Alitalia’s Far East network from Rome includes 22 weekly services to and from Beijing, Tokyo and Seoul.
Tickets for the new Rome-Beijing service can be bought online at alitalia.com, by calling the Alitalia Customer Centre on 89.20.10 or +39.06.65649 from overseas, at travel agencies and at airport ticket offices.
Members of Alitalia’s MilleMiglia loyalty programme can earn and redeem miles on the new service, and if they travel on or before 18 September they will receive a bonus of an extra 5,000 miles.
*subject to government approval