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Air China launches direct flight between Beijing and French Riviera

NICE, France, June 21 (Reuters) - Air China will launch this summer a direct flight between Beijing and the Riviera city of Nice, the first route linking China and a regional French airport, the airport's director said.

Air China will use an Airbus A330-200 to fly the route three times a week, easing access for China's fast-growing tourism market to a stretch of Mediterranean coastline frequented by tycoons and celebrities alike.

"We've been talking about this for 20 years but we've only been in a position to talk about this with China for three or four years," Nice airport director Dominique Thillaud told Reuters.

In recent years, the airport, which is owned by a Franco-Italian consortium, has translated its website into Mandarin, installed Chinese-language signage and equipped its terminal building with interactive kiosks to assist Chinese travellers in a drive to increase Chinese visitor numbers.

(Reporting by Matthias Galante Editing by Richard Lough)