Toulouse Métropole and Toulouse-Blagnac Airport in China,
for the creation of a direct Toulouse-China route

01 Feb 2018

This press release is published by the Toulouse city authorities (Mairie de Toulouse).


From 14 to 20 January 2018, a delegation from Toulouse led by Sylvie Rouillon-Valdiguié, Vice-President of Toulouse Métropole responsible for tourism and Vice-President of the Attractiveness Agency, went to China on an assignment to promote and develop economic exchanges, particularly with a view to creating direct routes between Toulouse and Chinese cities.

The initiative, supported by the State and the Occitania/Pyrenees-Mediterranean Region, brought together Toulouse-Blagnac airport (Catherine Gay, Traffic Development Director for ATB), representatives of ATB’s Chinese shareholder, CASIL Europe (Sophie Hennion and Tom Wong, also members of the ATB Board) and the airline XL Airways, which holds the air traffic rights (Luc Bereni, Commercial Director for France).

The delegation visited three cities: Chongqing (megacity twinned with Toulouse since 1981), Zhengzhou (which recently sent a delegation to Toulouse) and Tianjin (home to an Airbus A330 finishing plant).

This initiative comes in a context of shared interest, taking into account partnerships between the city of Toulouse and China. Cooperation is possible in several areas, such as health, economics, university exchanges, urban transport, tourism and culture.
Opening a direct route between Toulouse and China would facilitate these exchanges, while boosting the tourism and economic appeal of Toulouse and its region, the gateway to Southern Europe.

It is in this spirit that the French delegation went to China, and real progress was made. A declaration of intent to create a direct route between Zhengzhou and Toulouse was signed by Sylvie Rouillon-Valdiguié, Catherine Gay and their Chinese counterparts.

”The Toulouse authorities, and the metropolitan area, have formed privileged relationships in many areas with China, particularly in the aerospace sector with Airbus, or through twinning with Chongqing,” stated Sylvie Rouillon-Valdiguié, Vice-President of Toulouse Métropole responsible for tourism and Vice-President of the Attractiveness Agency. This cooperation between the two parties just needs to be strengthened, and the first declaration of intent from Zhengzhou in favour of air traffic development promises great things for the future. Our two countries and our metropolitan area have everything to gain from these commitments in support of economic growth and openness.”

 “This Visit to China has allowed real progress, with the prospect of opening a direct route between Toulouse and Zhengzhou,” indicated Catherine Gay, Traffic Development Director for Toulouse-Blagnac Airport. We hope that the decision will be finalised by September so that ticket sales can begin. The route would operate from April to October 2019, with two flights a week provided by the French airline XL Airways, using an Airbus A330 with 330 seats.”

Sophie Hennion, member of the ATB Board and representative of Casil Europe, stated that “this meeting between the French and Chinese delegations forged a strong connection between our two regions. This is the opportunity to help Chinese tourists, who are increasingly travelling abroad and therefore contributing to the dynamism of local economies, discover Toulouse and Occitania.”