British Airways to commence Chengdu flights from London Heathrow

British Airways, the UK’s national carrier, has launched new direct flights from London Heathrow to Chengdu in southwest China.

The British airline said that it would provide the 777-200ER service three-times-weekly flight from September 22. British Airways will be the only UK carrier to offer a direct service between Changdu Shuangliu International Airport and London Heathrow. For travellers booking between now and January 6, flights will be on offer for £508 return, including taxes and charges, The Telegraph noted in its report.

The route will be served by a four-cabin Beoing 777, with First, Club World (business class), World Traveller Plus (premium economy) and World Traveller (economy). The airline said that it plans to switch from a Boeing 777 service to the 787-8 Dreamliner during the summer of 2014, and increase weekly flight from three to five.

One of China’s largest cities, Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, is famous for the Chengdu Panda Base, a research centre dedicated to the successful breeding and conservation of giant pandas. Sichuan is renowned for its spicy cuisine and features the Sichuan Opera, a 200-year-old tradition involving songs and dance, colourful costumes and a skilful display of ‘face-changing’, involving masks.

Keight Williams, British Airways’ chief executive, said, ‘Chengdu is a fascinating venue for leisure travellers, and is known around the world for its famous giant pandas and excellent fiery Sichuan cuisine.

‘We are confident that the new route between Chengdu and London will prove popular with customers travelling between the two major economic hubs.’

Chengdu is the fourth Chinese city to allow visa-free entry for foreign travellers, following Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou. The policy applies to visitors from 45 countries, including Britain, the US, France and Singapore. British Airways already flies to Beijing and Shanghai.

Earlier this month, BA announced the launch of flights to the South Korean capital, Seoul, and said that it will increase services from Heathrow to Amman, Chennai, Hyderabad, Jeddah, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro and Toronto from next summer.