China Southern Airlines inaugural flight from Luxembourg;

On Thursday 21 December 2023, the first direct flight from China landed in Luxembourg airport in Findel, with the return flight departing on Friday afternoon.

China Southern Airlines commenced the weekly flights between Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport in Henan province in central China, to Luxembourg, deploying an Airbus A350 aircraft offering 28 business, 24 premium economy and 262 economy seats, 314 seats in total (a replacement for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner as originally envisaged); the Luxembourg-Zhengzhou "Air Silk Road" initiative had now become reality.

China Southern Airlines already flies to/from other European destinations which include Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Paris and London.

On Friday morning, China's Ambassador to Luxembourg, Hua Ning, hosted a reception at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Luxembourg-Dommeldange for well over a hundred people. In a setting decorated with photographs and other cultural objects, as well as two large screens showing a looped film on China tourism, the reception included representatives of the Chinese business and social communities as well as dignitaries including political figures such as Laurent Mosar and Mars di Bartholomeo, Vice-President of Luxembourg Parliament.

Ambassador Hua Ning confirmed that the inaugural China Southern Airlines direct flight touched down at Luxembourg airport with 250 passengers aboard, with the flight and procedures upon landing all going smoothly. He confirmed that the flight was the longest direct flight handled by Luxembourg airport in its history. He added that the direct passenger flights would ease direct travel for passengers travelling between the two countries, referencing also Luxembourg's important financial services sector. He mentioned additional cross-border investment and this flight will offer more opportunities in the future. He mentioned the tourism and cultural offerings in and around Zhengzhou in central China which he explained is a central hub for China's high-speed train network, with Beijing just two hours away.

The event also served as the opening ceremony of the "Nihao! China" Tourism and Culture Week; Ambassador Hua Ning explained that many of the cultural exhibits on display were from around the Yellow River and could be viewed at the China Cultural Centre in Luxembourg city.

Mr Roland Reiland, Ambassador of Luxembourg to China, said it was a great please to celebrate the first direct flight from Asia to Luxembourg. He thanked China Southern Airlines for the inaugural flight - on which he was a passenger himself yesterday. He said that the new direct flight is great and will allow Luxembourg become a gateway to welcome Chinese businesses to Europe. He also mentioned the possibility for cultural exchanges between the two countries, the first being an exhibition of Luxembourg history and cultures in Henan. He said that the passenger flight (there are also circa 50 cargo flights/week between the two airports, via Cargolux) will also enable greater economic cooperation between the two countries. He concluded by stating that today "marks a new moment in relations between the two countries".

A representative from China Southern Airlines then made a presentation about the airline, its fleet and network, followed by video messages from Minister Yuriko Backes, Lex Delles, Minister for Tourism and Sun Shougang, Executive Vice Governor of the People's Government of Henan Province who emphasised the Luxembourg-Zhengzhou "Air Silk Road" initiative now becoming operational.

Talking with, Ma Jimin, General Manager of the HNCA Culture and Tourism Company in Henan (HNCA is a shareholder in Cargolox and China Southern Airlines and also invested in the Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport in Henan province) confirmed that the inaugural flights were over 50% occupied and advance bookings are looking promising with well over 50% seats already reserved. He added that having seven Chinese banks in Luxembourg, with hundreds of employees, is very positive.

Later on Friday, lux-Airport hosted a special inauguration ceremony in advance of the inaugural flight taking off from Luxembourg. Alexander Flassak, CEO of lux-Airport, spoke in front of journalists and passengers and stressed that the China Southern Airlines A350 was the largest passenger aircraft to land and take off at the airport. He referenced the months of planning and preparation behind the scenes in order to get to this point. Speaking with, he mentioned that initial plans were to start flights last July, be this was put back to December, as officially announced.

After the symbolic cutting of the cake for the new route, Alexander Flassak presented copies of a hardcopy book on Luxembourg airport to the captain of the inaugural flight, a representative of the airline and the head of the cabin crew. The second symbolic gesture was the cutting of a ribbon, accompanied by a photo session.

The Zhengzhou-Luxembourg route is being operated once a week on Thursdays, with the flight taking off from Zhengzhou Airport at 14:50 (Beijing time) and arriving at Luxembourg Airport at 19:00 CET; the return flight takes off from Luxembourg Airport at 15:00 CET on Fridays and arriving at Zhengzhou Airport at 08:10 (Beijing time) on the following day.

In a collaboration with the Automobile Club of Luxembourg (ACL) using these new flights, Euro-Asie, a tour operator based in Steinsel, is organising a total of sixteen fourteen-day trips to China from May to November 2024.