Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick made it official Wednesday that the Chinese carrier Hainan Airlines will be offering nonstop service from Logan International Airport to Beijing starting June 20.
State officials have been vying for a direct route to China for years, and Patrick called the announcement a “significant milestone.”
“Nonstop services from Boston to Beijing will open up new commercial and economic opportunities,” Patrick said in a statement.
This is the latest in a string of new direct routes to Asia and the Middle East negotiated by the Massachusetts Port Authority in the past two years with the aim of strengthening the state’s global economic ties and boosting Logan’s profile in air travel.
The China route has been particularly important to local tourism and business leaders. Last year, China ranked as the state’s fourth-largest foreign market, behind Canada, the United Kingdom, and Japan. Massachusetts businesses sold $1.9 billion in merchandise to China in 2012.
During the same time, 150,000 visitors from China came to the state, a nearly 8 percent increase from 2011, lured by the region’s universities, medical centers, history, and shopping opportunities.
The direct flight between the two cities — expected to take 13 hours — will mean more visitors will come to Massachusetts and stay longer, supporters said.