A landmark deal, connecting Manchester Airport to Shanghai, will link the region with flights to China’s biggest city.
The Chinese airline, Juneyao Air, will operate its first UK service. Flights from Manchester Airport to Shanghai will run three times a week from March 2020.
Shanghai is one of the world’s top five global financial centres. 180,000 people and businesses in the North travel to the city each year. As a result, business leaders anticipate new flights from Manchester Airport will stimulate further connections between China and the North.
Shanghai has a population of 25 million and is a leading global centre for finance, innovation and transportation. The city, once a fishing village, is now the world’s busiest container port.
Manchester Airport CEO, Andrew Cowan, said of the new flights to Shanghai:
This news underlines the critical role Manchester Airport plays in connecting people and businesses across the North to the world’s most important markets.
“We have seen first-hand how new routes to high-growth economies can unlock significant trade, cultural and knowledge exchange opportunities and this will be no different.
“We are delighted that Juneyao Air has recognised everything the North has to offer, in terms of its business base, natural and cultural assets and world-leading universities when choosing to launch this new service.”
Wang Junjin, Juneyao Air Chairman, spoke of the tourism benefits to Greater Manchester, saying:
Juneyao Air is delighted to launch its first fifth-freedom route to Manchester, and we look forward to developing Manchester’s traffic growth in the coming years. This route will further promote Greater Manchester’s tourism, as well giving Britain an opportunity to boost its trade and investment links to China.”
The new route is one of a number in recent years that have brought economic benefits. The region’s export values grew 41% in the last three years since introduction of Beijing flights from Manchester. This route aims to create additional similar opportunities. Cities in Manchester Airport’s wider catchment, including York and Liverpool, are also championing the flights to Shanghai.
Henri Murison, Director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said:
Forging closer links between China and the Northern Powerhouse is crucial to increasing the contribution the North makes to the UK economy and reinforces the role of Manchester Airport as the global, long-haul gateway to the North – a Heathrow for the North bringing investment, growth and skilled jobs to the region.
“This new route to Shanghai and others including to the US and Bangladesh, is not simply about connecting the people of the North West to the world. It is a chance for all of the Northern Powerhouse’s 15 million people to create new opportunities for them and their families.”
Juneyao Air is one of the leading private-owned carriers in mainland China. Flights from Manchester Airport will initially operate via Helsinki to Shanghai on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The Boeing Dreamliner planes will have both business and economy cabins.