China-based Hainan Airlines has formally launched a direct air route between Beijing and Manchester, strengthening the airline’s intercontinental route network in Europe and offering more choices to international travellers.
The new Beijing-Manchester-Beijing air route with operate every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. The introduction of the air route follows the extension of the visa term for Chinese nationals visiting the UK from six months to two years – a relaxation in visa regulations that was announced earlier this year.
The UK government is also planning to launch a ten-year multiple entry visa programme, offering increased accessibility to the UK for Chinese visitors. The opening of the air route between Beijing and Manchester is expected to attract more investors from China to invest in northern England. It will also make it more convenient for business executives and travellers travelling between China and Britain as well as between China and Europe generally.
Further, the addition of new air route also supports the ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative, a programme launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping, to rebuild a modern equivalent of the ancient silk route that connected China to Europe in ancient times, as well as the Northern Powerhouse programme, the UK government’s programme to improve economic growth in the north of England. The direct route established an air traffic bridge between the two cities as well as a new Silk Road in the air.
In 2016, Hainan Airlines opened several international routes, including Changsha-Los Angeles, Beijing-Tel Aviv and Beijing-Manchester. The new Beijing-Calgary route is scheduled to be launched later this month. The company has also created a new international brand image with its ‘Oriental Beauty’ concept in a move to provide an enhanced level of services. Hainan Airlines has been named as a SKYTRAX five-star airline for five consecutive years.