China's Sichuan Airlines will launch direct flights connecting Dubai and Chengdu, capital of the southwestern province of Sichuan, the airline said Friday.

The air route will open on Dec. 17 with an expected one-way flight time of around eight hours, six hours shorter than indirect fights via Yinchuan City, said a press release from the airline.

Flight 3U603/4 will operate on Wednesdays and Saturdays via Airbus 330 aircraft, it said.

Sichuan has many famous scenic sites, including the resort of Jiuzhaigou, famous for its natural beauty, and the Giant Buddha in Leshan City, the largest sitting stone sculpture of the Buddha in the world. Tourists also come from around the world to see the giant pandas at the Panda Breeding Research Center and the Wolong Nature Reserve, a major panda habitat in Sichuan.

Editor: Zeng Yunheng