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March 29, 2010

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Flights resume linking Mexico and Shanghai

DIRECT flights between Mexico and Shanghai, suspended last April because of an outburst of swine flu in Mexico, officially resumed yesterday with the arrivals and departures of 419 passengers at the Pudong International Airport, border inspectors said.

AeroMexico plans two flights a week between Mexico City and Shanghai, with a stop in the north Mexican city of Tijuana. The route is expected to transport 60,000 passengers a year, AeroMexico said.

The flight in the Boeing 777, which can hold 277 passengers, takes about 20 hours, some four or five hours less than before because there's no stop in Japan anymore.

At 7:41am yesterday, 263 passengers from Mexico arrived at the Pudong airport. A passenger from Mexico City said it was the first time she and her family traveled to China.

They were attracted by China's long history and culture, and also looking forward to the World Expo that will open in May.

A Chinese woman surnamed Su, who settled in Mexico, said the direct flight offered much convenience to Chinese living there.

At 10:45am, 156 passengers, including 131 Chinese, 18 Mexicans and seven passengers from other countries, left Shanghai for Mexico.

A man surnamed Wei was the first to finish the exit procedures.

He said he was on a business trip to Mexico and booked the ticket after learning on the Internet that the flight was resuming.

Carlos Porraga, the airlines' vice president of corporate sales, told the Xinhua news agency on Saturday that AeroMexico had been waiting for the right time to put the flights back on the schedule.

"The Shanghai World Expo has worked as the catalyst for the carrier to start it again to meet the consumer demands," he said.

He said the airlines view Asia, and especially China, as important markets.

"The Expo will bring us a huge number of passengers. Besides Mexico, Expo visitors and working staff from other Latin American countries will also take our flight to China," Porraga said.

As the only carrier in Latin America with Asian routes, AeroMexico will link Shanghai to a larger network of countries, including Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Costa Rica.

"Consuls in these countries told me they were so excited about the resumption of the flight as it offered much convenience and could reinforce commercial, cultural and tourist relations between China, Mexico and Latin America," said Miguel Barrio, Mexico's Consul General in Shanghai.


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