Germany's national carrier, Lufthansa, has become the first European airline to introduce non-stop flights to Shanghai and has pledged to expand further into China. The Frankfurt-Shanghai connection reduces the travelling time by 21/2 hours. Passengers bound for the industrial metropolis were previously forced to fly via Beijing. With its long-awaited direct connection, Lufthansa is responding to what it calls the 'major market of the future'. Hemjoe Klein, the carrier's chief marketing executive, said: 'At the moment, Asia Pacific accounts for 10 per cent of our revenues and China makes up 10 per cent of that. 'As China becomes the major market of the future, we are committed to expand both our passenger and cargo operations - and execute all possible strategies to stay ahead in this important market,' Mr Klein said. Lufthansa first landed in Beijing in 1926 when two Junkers G24s flew in from Berlin. The Chinese capital is now served by six non-stop flights a week from Frankfurt. Two of these continue to Shanghai. The new direct flight to China's industrial heartland means there are now seven flights a week between Germany and China - as well as a daily service to Hong Kong. Meanwhile, the carrier is breaking new ground in inflight catering with the introduction of meals prepared from organically-grown produce. The 'eco-menu' is being offered in first and business class. Depending on popularity and the supply of organic products, it may be offered to economy-class passengers. All ingredients from steaks to vegetables come from controlled organic farms employing environment-friendly production methods. The project is in co-operation with a German environment agency. 'Lufthansa is apparently the first airline in the world to offer organically-grown food on this scale,' said Helmut Woelki, chairman of Lufthansa's catering subsidiary, LSG. 'The airline is meeting growing demand for healthy food of the best quality and is simultaneously encouraging organic farming and the benefits it yields for nature and the environment. 'Demand from large buyers like Lufthansa can stimulate the organic farming industry as an alternative to conventional agriculture.' Initially, more than 20,000 'eco-menus' are being prepared a month from produce grown without chemicals or fertilisers. 'It was not easy to get the project started,' Mr Woelki said. 'Our major problem was finding suppliers who were able to deliver organic produce in sufficient quantities 'just in time'.'