China's Haikou and Osaka now linked by direct flights

A direct air route was launched on Thursday morning between Haikou, capital of south China's Hainan Province, and Osaka, Japan's second-largest city.

It is this year's first international air route from Haikou launched by Hainan Airlines, which has already opened a number of international routes linking Haikou with destinations including Rome, Singapore, Sydney and Melbourne.

The maiden flight took off at 8:40 a.m. before arriving in Osaka at 1:40 p.m. It is scheduled to return to Haikou at 7:15 p.m. after departing from Osaka at 2:40 p.m. on the same day.

By December 2018, Hainan Province already had 74 international air routes in total and is aiming to increase the number to 100 by 2020.

The province aims to attract two million overseas tourists by 2020, with an average annual growth rate of 25 percent between 2018 and 2020, according to a three-year action plan released last June. China plans to develop Hainan into an international tourism and consumption center by 2025, and a world class tourism and consumption destination by 2035.

(With input from Xinhua News Agency)