Manchester Airport is ready to celebrate the Year of the Pig as 260,000 passengers travelled to and from China in the last year.
As Chinese New Year beckons and we enter the Year of the Pig, Manchester Airport is celebrating another strong 12 months as passenger numbers to China grew 17%.
With more than 260,000 passengers travelling to Beijing and Hong Kong in the last year, the UK’s third largest airport continues to play its role as the UK’s global gateway in the North.
Hong Kong has been operated by Cathay Pacific for four years and Beijing with Hainan Airlines for two and a half years. Both routes make Manchester the only English airport outside of London to offer direct services to these destinations, underpinning the vital role the hub plays for its vast catchment area spanning all the North, North Wales and part of the Midlands.
- Direct traffic to China up 17% year on year
- More than 184,000 passengers flew to Hong Kong last year, whereas 76,000 went to Beijing
- Wealth of Chinese New Year activity planned including, art exhibition, Chinese Wishing Tree, lucky pig giveaways and traditional Lion Dance
- Manchester’s routes to China continue to unlock economic growth as a recent report highlighted a 38% increase in Chinese visitors to the North, with average spend increasing by 94%
To celebrate and thank passengers for choosing to fly to China from Manchester, the airport has planned a host of activity to celebrate the Year of the Pig in style.
A stunning Chinese Wishing Tree will adorn Terminal Two, giving passengers the opportunity to hang their New Year wishes and desires from the branches of the 10ft blossom tree. In China, blossom trees symbolise new growth, transformation and prosperity.
Passengers will also have the opportunity to enjoy an art exhibition in collaboration with the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art that will be in the Terminal Two arrivals halls. Adding other visual touches will be a set of interactive posters with QR codes so passengers can engage with the airport’s WeChat account, and dozens of Chinese lanterns will be hung throughout all the terminals and skylink.
Adding a touch of theatre in Terminal Two check in, will be a traditional Lion Dance and Chinese performers on Chinese New Year (5th February), plus the airport’s choir will serenade passengers airside on the same day.
Finally, amongst all the fun on 5th February, passengers arriving and departing will get the chance to receive a lucky pig envelope, with duty free offers inside and prizes to be won.
Andrew Cowan, CEO of Manchester Airport said:
“We have seen first hand how the connectivity Manchester Airport now provides with China has unlocked a wide range of cultural and economic benefits for the region.
“This year’s Chinese New Year activity will provide an opportunity to celebrate those links and I look forward to sharing the celebrations with our customers during the period.”
The celebrations come on the back of the publication of the second edition of The China Dividend, a report which measured the economic impact of having direct flights to China from Manchester Airport.
The study, launched at the British Embassy in Beijing in September, showed that exports, inward investment enquiries, student numbers and tourism have all boomed since the Hainan route launched.
Mr Cowan added:
“The findings of our second China Dividend report clearly showed that direct connectivity to the likes of Beijing and Hong Kong significantly enhances trade, tourism and investment in both directions.
“We are committed to driving such growth across the North by continuing to connect it to the world’s most important markets, and we are confident of securing links to other high value economies in the months and years ahead.
“Finally, I’d like to thank all the 260,000 passengers who have flown through Manchester Airport to China in the last year and hope those travelling over Chinese New Year enjoy the activity we have planned.”
Launched in September 2018, the second version of Manchester Airport’s annual “China Dividend” report highlighted:
- A 38% increase in the number of Chinese visitors to the North since 2016 – a growth rate higher than both London and the UK average. The UK average is 30%
- The average spend per visit in the North West increased by 94% to £2,167 and is now 5% higher than the national average
- The number of Chinese students in Greater Manchester has grown 9% in two years vs national growth of 4%
- A 114% increase in Northern students gaining Chinese internships, with more than 70% from low income backgrounds
- The Manchester-Beijing route has grown faster than any other UK-China route that has been in operation for more than 12 months
- Export values from Manchester Airport to China grew 41% to £1.29bn in the two years after the Beijing route launch, while national values fell 30%.
James Ginns, Cathay Pacific General Manager for Europe, commented:
“We’d like to take this opportunity to wish all our customers and everyone in Manchester and the surrounding region a very happy and prosperous Chinese New Year of the Pig. Our hugely popular daily flight from Manchester to Hong Kong and beyond into China and Asia connects our customers in the north really conveniently with friends and family at this important time of the year.”
Olivier yang, General manager of Hainan Airlines UK, said:
“Our direct flight between Manchester and Beijing began as a great partnership between Hainan Airlines, China and Manchester Airport that continues to flourish.
“Manchester and the North West are strategically very important in the future development of this relationship. The potential development opportunities for UK companies in China and the opportunity for inward investment from China make this connection vital for growth.
“Our partners at Manchester Airport continue to support our expansion and progress in the UK market and we’re very proud to be the only airline offering direct flights from mainland China to Manchester.”
Manchester Airport’s Chinese New Year activity takes place between January and March, with the bulk of activity take place on 5th February.
As well as connecting the North to China, Manchester Airport continues to plug the region into key global destinations. In the last year it secured and started routes to Seattle (Thomas Cook Airlines), Mumbai (Jet Airways) and Addis Ababa (Ethiopian Airlines). These trio of routes again make Manchester the only airport outside of London to offer such services.