Heathrow will welcome three new weekly services to China this Summer, including two to cities previously unserved by any British airport.
Starting this summer, Heathrow-based Hainan Airlines and Tianjin Airlines will provide the UK’s first direct connections to the growing cities of Changsha and X’ian in three weekly services.
Beijing Capital Airlines has also announced it will convert its existing charter operation to a scheduled route to Qingdao, by providing 2 scheduled weekly services from 26 March.
These services will provide more than 217,000 new seats every year for passengers, travelling to and from China, and an additional 6,700 tonnes of new cargo space for British exports.
As the UK’s largest port by value for non-EU trade, Heathrow will be uniquely positioned to make the best of the new export opportunities connectivity to these new markets offers.
According to research by Frontier Economics, the new UK connections to Changsha and Xi’an and scheduled connections to Qingdao will enable £26m annually in economic benefits through trade and FDI and create 830 direct and indirect jobs in the UK.
Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said: “China is booming and the appetite for British goods is stronger than ever. We are delighted to welcome these new airlines and routes. However, it is clear that the UK’s access to these Chinese market continues to lag behind our European rivals.
“Our nation’s biggest port is full and new routes from the UK to huge markets like Changsha and Xi’an are sadly the exception not the rule.
“If the UK is going to be a global trading powerhouse after Brexit, we need to expand Heathrow now – opening up to 40 new trading links that will help all of the UK thrive.”
Baroness Fairhead, Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion said: “These new direct flights between London and China are another vote of confidence in the British economy, and bear testament to the growing trade links between the UK and China.
“China’s vibrant economy presents huge opportunities for British businesses, and these new flights will make it easier for companies to build relationships with Chinese buyers of our quality goods and services.”
Besides being known for its ancient Mawangdui Han Tombs, parks and temples, Changsha is home to more than 7 million people, and is a major commercial and transport hub, with unique local products including Changsha famous tea, stone carvings and fermented soybeans.
With more than 8 million residents, Xi’an is an important industrial and educational centre, with major facilities for research and development, national security and China’s space exploration programme.
Well on its way to being classified as a “mega city,” Qingdao is home to more than 9 million people and has been ranked as a “golden city” by the World Bank, due to its investment climate.
It is a major port, manufacturing base and home to home to Tsingtao, the best-known Chinese beer export
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