BEIJING – Air China received Spain’s highest tourism industry award, the “Plaque for Tourist Merit.” Air China is the first foreign airline to receive the award, which is given to organizations and individuals for contributing to the Spanish tourism industry.
The Spanish Minister for Industry, Tourism and Commerce, Miguel Sebastian presented the award on Thursday night in a ceremony held at Madrid’s Teatro de la Abadia. “I want to congratulate Air China for their efforts to establish and maintain direct flights between Madrid and Beijing,” said the Minister. Sebastian also said that Air China’s initiative was important, given that Spain was working to raise the number of Chinese tourists visiting Spain over the next 10 years, with a target of 200,000 in 2012 and up to a million by 2020.
The presentation of the plaque was accompanied by a video, which congratulated Air China for, “closing the distance between China and Spain,” saying it was a “brave proposal that is helping to bring the two countries together.”
Air China is the only carrier operating direct flights from Beijing to Madrid. Opened in 2006, the route currently runs six direct flights a week, a number that’s expected to increase in the future.
Mr. Wang Jin’an, Vice Chairman of Commercial Committee, said, “Air China is very honored to receive Spain’s highest tourism industry award. We look forward to bringing China and Spain even closer together in the future with more direct flights and new routes.”
Air China is China’s only national flag carrier and a Star Alliance member. With a fleet of over 280 Airbus and Boeing aircraft, Air China’s 264 routes serve 32 countries and regions. Thanks to the airline’s admission to the Star Alliance, Air China’s route network, with Beijing as its hub, includes 1,172 destinations in 159 countries. Air China now has over 10 million members in its frequent flyers program.