Birmingham Airport will become the UK’s first gateway to offer charter package tours from China and the first UK airport outside London to launch direct charter flights to China.
The joint initiative between Birmingham Airport, China Southern Airlines, Caissa Travel Management Co Ltd and Birmingham China specialist agency, United Travel, aims to serve the need for more flights between the two countries.
The summer schedule will include direct flights operated by China Southern Airlines, arriving from Beijing into Birmingham between July 22 and August 6. Caissa, a China-based travel specialist, will sell a range of organised package tours to Chinese visitors seeking to explore the tourist attractions in the Midlands, the North of England and London. Birmingham is now the 4th most popular destination for Chinese visitors in England, the airport said.
Endorsing the programme, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Maria Miller, said, ‘This is great news for Birmingham and Britain. China is a vital trade and tourism partner for us and opening up this new route will encourage even more Chinese visitors to fly to our country and experience more of what our GREAT nation has to offer outside of the capital – from tourist attractions to shopping, culture to heritage. The new route will provide great investment and job opportunities for businesses in Birmingham and the Midlands.’
Paul Kehoe, Birmingham Airport’s Chief Executive, said, ‘Today’s announcement is a result of three years’ collaborative working with Birmingham City Council, Marketing Birmingham, VisitBritain and Shakespeare’s England to establish relationships in China and promote the many jewels that the Midlands has to offer, such as The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Warwick Castle, Bicester Village and the vibrant city of Birmingham itself.
This partnership also demonstrates that the demand is there from passengers across the UK who want long-haul flights to places like China from their nearest gateway.’
The new GBP40m runway extension, set to open next month, will provide airlines with unlimited take off range, allowing jets to fly direct to China. The project makes Birmingham an ideal place to become an alternative gateway to the UK for flights from China, one of the fastest growing visitor source markets for the UK tourism industry, and beyond.