A new bilateral aviation agreement between Greece and China was signed on 3 November, forming part of Kyriakos Mitsotakis, PM of the Hellenic Republic’s official two-day visit to Beijing.

The agreement, which is entirely consistent with EU legislation and the Horizontal deal between the EU and China, allows for each side to nominate various airlines. The agreement will boost Greece’s hugely important tourism sector, according to analysts.

According to the Greek transport department and the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority (HCAA), the new aviation agreement will replace the existing document, signed in 1973.

The authority stated that the new agreement would “modernise the institutional aviation framework and enhance the transport of passengers and goods between the two countries”.

GlobalData head of research and analysis, travel and tourism Nicholas Wyatt said: “Both countries clearly see value in a strong, mutually beneficial relationship and the signing of this new agreement, which replaces a longstanding one from 1973, will smooth the transportation of both passengers and goods between the two.

“With the lucrative Chinese source market now very much back in play following a lengthy period of travel restrictions, this should be a boon for Greece, which derives around 18% of its GDP from tourism.”

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The agreement extends provisions such as the right to operate air services on specified routes, maintenance of aviation safety rules and cooperation on fair flight schedules.

Greece was the first EU country to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative in 2018 after Chinese shipping firm COSCO bought the nation’s Piraeus port. Alongside this, the extension of this agreement suggests that bilateral relations between the two nations continue to be on the incline.

During the meeting, Mitsotakis reaffirmed Greece’s view on the importance of open communication channels between the EU and China, highlighting the common interest in preserving a constructive and stable partnership. He added that Greece should act as a “bridge” in this relationship.