Air China returns to London Gatwick with flights to Beijing

After a short break over the winter, China’s flagship carrier Air China is planning to return to London Gatwick with flights to Beijing.

Starting summer, Air China will provide a non-stop service from London Gatwick to Beijing International Airport four times a week on the Airbus A330-200 aircraft, which offers Business Class and Economy Class seating.

Business class passengers will benefit from a complimentary limousine service at either end of their journey, fully-flat seats and access to Gatwick’s No1 Traveller Lounge in the North Terminal.

Xiaoming Wu, General Manager for Air China UK and Ireland, said: ‘There is an increasingly strong demand for air travel between the UK and China’s major cities. Last year alone the number of passengers who flew between the two countries exceeded two million and Air China feels that it is now an excellent opportunity to capture good business in such a massive market.

‘London Gatwick is conveniently located less than 30 minutes away from central London by the express train and offers great facilities to business passengers, making it ideal for Chinese services. We trust that together with Air China’s strong network across Asia and Australia, our flights between Gatwick and Beijing will greatly enhance the passenger travel experience as well as benefiting the communications and exchanges between people across the two countries.’

Stewart Wingate, London Gatwick Airport CEO, said: ‘Air China’s services to Beijing demonstrate that Gatwick can support long haul routes and make them a success. We are sure that London’s passengers, who continue to choose to fly from Gatwick, as well as Chinese travellers wanting easy access into central London, will be delighted to have even greater choice of flights between London and the Far East.

‘This route provides another essential air link to Beijing, a key high-growth market which offers UK businesses significant trade opportunities alongside the other emerging destinations Gatwick serves – from Vietnam to Russia and the Middle East.’

And beyond Beijing also, Air China’s connections across Asia and onto Australia are fast, affordable and diverse. The new regulation also offers the opportunity to stay in Beijing for up to 72 hours without the need for a visa, benefiting both business and leisure travellers.


Air China scraps Gatwick route

Air China has scrapped its direct flights to Gatwick airport, concentrating instead on its existing flights to Heathrow, the Telegraph has reported.

The decision by China’s leading carrier is the latest in a number of similar withdrawals from London’s second airport by major world airlines over the past five years, although some of these have been replaced by new additions, and the airport’s authorities are hopeful that Air China’s exit will be a temporary one, with a resumption of the service next summer.

In a statement the airport said, ‘Air China has made a decision not to operate services between London Gatwick and Beijing this winter. Passenger numbers on the Gatwick-Beijing route have been strong since it was launched in May 2012. However, over this summer Air China increased the capacity on its aircraft operating out of Heathrow and this has prompted the decision to temporarily withdraw services from Gatwick for the winter season. Air China intends to operate this route again out of Gatwick from next summer and we shall be working hard to return it to a year-round service.’

The withdrawal has also been seen in some quarters as an affirmation that a central hub airport is imperative to the UK’s aviation industry, as major airlines find these more practical to operate from than separate airports.

Daniel Moylan, aviation adviser to London mayor, Boris Johnson, was quoted in the Telegraph, saying, ‘London and the UK economy need a proper, well-functioning hub airport with room for growth. No amount of pretending that is not so is going to give Britain the sort of infrastructure it needs.’

Air China Offers New Frankfurt to Chengdu Direct Service

Air China, the China-based, state-owned airline company, is offering a new non-stop service from Chengdu, in China, to Frankfurt airport, in Germany.

The new service commences from May 19, 2013, and is intended to help to position Chengdu as an air transportation hub for southwestern China.

Around 62 of the airline’s domestic, international and regional routes currently serve Chengdu. The new Chengdu to Frankfurt service is intended to make it easier for passengers from Europe to travel to the southwest region of China.

The three times weekly service will be operated with an Airbus A330-200 on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. The aircraft features personal Audio Video on Demand (AVOD) in all classes of service, and lie-flat seats in Business Class.

The airline already offers direct services from Frankfurt to Beijing and Shanghai, and it is part of the extensive Star Alliance network, through which it can offer its passengers access to 1,356 destinations in 193 countries and regions.

In May 2012, the airline launched its new service from London Gatwick Airport to Beijing International Airport, which operates four times a week and is intended to expand its services to the city of London. Air China is also offering a fast track immigration service at London Heathrow Airport for its VIP passengers flying from Beijing to the UK.

Air China is currently the 10th largest airline, by fleet size, in the world, with a fleet of 330-200 Airbus and Boeing aircraft, which operate on 289 routes, and serve a total of 143 cities.

Air China Offers Fast Track Immigration Desk at London Heathrow

Air China, the China-based, state-owned airline company, is offering a fast track immigration service at London Heathrow Airport for its VIP passengers.

The airline is currently offering this facility to its First Class and Business Class passengers and PhoenixMiles Platinum members, on flights from Beijing to Heathrow London airport. On arriving at Heathrow airport, the passengers may proceed to the ‘Fast Track’ location and provide their credentials in order to benefit from the service.

Passengers will be offered an exclusive express immigration and passport control clearance service at Heathrow, with much shorter waiting periods and greater travel comfort. The offer is valid for individual VIP travellers who do not hold UK passports or the passports of any other European Union member countries.

Currently the offer is available at eight overseas airports, including Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport in Australia, Melbourne Airport, in Australia, Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport in France, Narita International Airport, Tokyo, Japan, Rome Fiumicino Leonardo Da Vinci’ International Airport in Rome, Italy, Milan Malpensa Intercontinental Airport in Milan, Italy, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport in Thailand, and London Heathrow Airport.

Previously, in May 2012, the airline launched its new service from London Gatwick Airport to Beijing International Airport, four times a week, in a bid to obtain a greater share of the services to the city of London.

Air China is currently the 10th largest airline by fleet use in the world, with a fleet of 330-200 Airbus and Boeing aircraft, operating on 289 routes, serving a total of 143 cities.