Nice Côte d’Azur becomes the first airport in France outside Paris to welcome a direct flight from China. This new service will boost the international development of France’s second-largest airport platform and consolidate its standing as an alternative to Europe’s major hubs.
On 2 August, Nice Côte d'Azur airport welcomed an A330-200 operated by Air China, the first Chinese airline to open a direct service between China and Nice.
The inaugural flight took place in the presence of the Prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes department, Bernard Gonzalez, Ms. Yu Jinsong, councillor at the Chinese embassy in France, Christian Estrosi, Mayor of Nice, President of the Nice Côte d’Azur metropolitan authority and Vice-President of the Région Sud authority, the Chinese actor Liu Ye, in his capacity as a tourism ambassador for the Riviera in China and an honorary citizen of the City of Nice, and Tan Huamin, Vice-President of Air China.
“We are proud to become the first airport in France outside Paris to connect its region to China, the world’s leading country for outbound tourism. This new route represents numerous economic opportunities for the Riviera, and the Région Sud more generally, and greatly helps to boost its appeal around the world. We are honoured by the trust that Air China has placed in our region, and above all, we feel responsible for making a success of this development. All the region’s driving forces are focussed on achieving this goal”, enthused Dominique Thillaud, Chairman of the Board of Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur.
In 2018, Nice Côte d'Azur airport welcomed 83,000 indirect passengers from China, including 53,000 Chinese nationals. Passenger traffic from Beijing has grown by 51% over the last 5 years, reflecting Chinese tourists’ increasing interest in the Riviera.
In the summer of 2018, the airport extended its offer of long-haul destinations by 50%, by adding a direct service to Kuwait and another one to China. Nice Côte d’Azur airport is now positioned at the heart of a network connecting 23 French airports to almost 100 international destinations, consolidating its standing as an alternative to the major European hubs. This position has been further strengthened by the launch in June of the Nice Connect self-connecting service that enables all travellers to combine any flight on any airline from its terminals, representing more than 23,000 possible combinations per week in the peak season.