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Chinese airline, Hainan Airlines is to almost double capacity on its Manchester Airport to Beijing route, with daily flights to operate from summer 2024.
The service to the Chinese capital currently runs four-times weekly, however, from June to September 2024, Hainan Airlines has announced it will run the flights every day of the week. Direct flights to Beijing began in 2016, making Manchester the first UK airport outside London to offer services to mainland China. A partnership between Hainan Airlines and Scottish regional carrier, Loganair, also allows passengers from Aberdeen, Inverness, the Isle of Man and Newquay to connect with a simple airside transfer to continue their journey onward to Beijing.
The increased capacity on the route has been welcomed by business and tourism leaders across Manchester Airport’s catchment. A 2018 report found that the launch of direct services had led to a near doubling of the money spent by Chinese tourists in the North of England, and also boosted the numbers of Chinese students attending the region’s universities by 9%. Export values from Manchester Airport to China also rose 41%, despite a 30% drop in the national average.
Chris Woodroofe, Manchester Airport managing director, said:
“We are proud to connect the North to the world – and to connect the world to the North. From next summer, we will become the only UK airport outside London offering daily direct flights to mainland China, meaning we are able to connect the people of the region to one of the most important economies in the world, and vice versa.
“Hainan Airlines’ decision to operate a daily Beijing flight from Manchester is testament to the success of the current service. More than 350,000 passengers have used it since it was first launched seven years ago.
“We know the route is also extremely popular with Chinese visitors. We are a gateway to some of the most vibrant cities and beautiful countryside the UK has to offer, and the daily service is fantastic news for tourism, businesses, and Universities across our region – as well as for Manchester’s Chinese community.”
Peter Han, general manager of Hainan Airlines UK, said:
“We are thrilled to be almost doubling capacity on our Manchester to Beijing service next summer with a daily flight. There is a lot of demand for travel between the North of England and China, in both directions. This expansion of our service will allow us to meet demand over the busy summer season and marks an exciting new chapter for our operation at Manchester Airport.”
Rhys Whalley, executive director of the Manchester China Forum, said:
“Increased connectivity with China is a brilliant boost for bi-lateral relations and will strengthen our existing engagement activity with the country. China is a leading source for trade and investment into Greater Manchester and building closer political, academic and commercial ties through these transport links, will enhance and create new opportunities.”
Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said:
“We know that the Asia is responsible for a sizeable proportion of the increase in foreign direct investment we’ve seen to our region in recent years and this improved connectivity to Beijing should help to accelerate that.
“Manchester Airport plays a vital role in the Northern economy as our gateway to the rest of the world.
“International connectivity is vital if the North of England is serious about developing our global reputation, supporting our universities as well as building trade and tourism links.”