Shenzhen Airlines launched its direct service to Barcelona, Spain, from the airline’s base city, Shenzen, in South China’s populous Guangdong province.

The route and its inauguration were chosen due to burgeoning links between China and European nations. 2023 is the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Spain.

Barcelona and Shenzhen became “sister cities” in 2021 and the route is part of the cooperation between the cities. That relationship is reported to cover science, technology, culture, tourism and trade.

The route will be operated as a twice-weekly round-trip on Mondays and Fridays. Shenzhen will fly the routes (ZH9066 and ZH9065) with Airbus A330 wide-body jets, capable of carrying up to 400 passengers.

The new route will be Shenzhen Airlines’ second direct flight to Europe after its London Heathrow route was inaugurated in 2018.

The first direct flight from Shenzhen to Spain landed on Monday, carrying 203 passengers and was welcomed by airline and city representatives.