Edinburgh Airport resumes direct Beijing link with Hainan Airlines

Edinburgh Airport has announced that Hainan Airlines is resuming its direct air service between the capital cities of Scotland and China, reestablishing what it describes as the ‘Great Hall to the Great Wall’ link.

This service marks Scotland’s sole direct connection to China and will operate twice a week, with departures from Edinburgh on Mondays and Fridays, starting from June 26 until October 6. The flights will be operated on an Airbus A330.

The air service between Beijing and Scotland stands as a vital bridge, linking two diverse and captivating destinations. Besides the business possibilities, this connection opens up a world of opportunities for travellers seeking to explore the rich cultural tapestry of Beijing, visit ancient wonders, explore a fascinating culture, or take in breathtaking landscapes.

Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport, said: ‘We’re excited to be reconnecting Scotland and China and deliver yet more destination and experience choices for our passengers.

‘Our countries are both steeped in history and heritage, and this Hainan Airlines service will make it easier for people in Scotland and China to experience the very best of our countries. It’s also another signal of strength in Edinburgh as a destination for people across the world.

‘We know that there is a deep connection between our countries and this route will help to reconnect friends, families and businesses, as well as allow us to forge new economic relationships to the benefit of Scotland on a national and local level.’

Minister for Transport Fiona Hyslop said: ‘I warmly welcome the start of Hainan’s direct service between Edinburgh Airport and Beijing. This direct connectivity is great news for people and businesses in both Scotland and China, building strong links for business and exports, as well as making it easier for visitors and students to come and experience Scotland.

‘Our aspiration is for Scotland to be as well connected globally as peer nations and regions and this service is an important boost to our international connectivity, demonstrating growing confidence in the Scottish aviation market.

‘I wish Edinburgh Airport and Hainan every success with this service.’

British Airways restarts flights to Beijing

British Airways has announced the resumption of its flight services from London to Beijing since a pause in services in January 2020, when the route was suspended due to the pandemic.

The resumption will restore the airline’s exclusivity as the only British carrier operating a direct service between Beijing and the UK.

The British Airways flights will operate four-times-a-week between Beijing and London, departing Daxing Airport on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Tickets are on sale now, on: ba.com and all British Airways customers have the option to purchase premium carbon offsets from certified climate projects and sustainable aviation fuel.

Commenting on the resumption, Louise Street, British Airways’ Director of Worldwide Airports, said: ‘The restart of one of our most important routes after more than three years is a long-awaited moment for all of us at British Airways. Following the successful resumption of flights between Shanghai and London in April, we’re excited to be back in Beijing too, reuniting families and friends and facilitating international student and business travel once again. We are looking forward to working hand-in-hand with our joint business partner China Southern, to provide wider transit options and various benefits to our customers in China and the UK.’

British Airways and partner China Southern both operate from Daxing, giving customers greater connectivity between the UK and China, with a wide choice of onward flights.

Onboard, customers can now access the airline’s newly designed Club Suite (business class) cabin, with direct-aisle access, a suite door for greater privacy and flat-bed seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. The Suite has 40 per cent more storage, including a vanity unit and mirror, WiFi, 18.5-inch inflight entertainment screens, high-definition gate-to-gate programming and PC / USB power, new furnishings, new amenity kits and a reworked dining experience.

Air China returns to London Gatwick Airport with services to Beijing

Air China has resumed operations at London Gatwick Airport with services to Beijing.

The Chinese flag-carrier operates four flights per week to Beijing Capital International Airport that started April 1, and will increase to daily services from April 24. It will be the first since early 2020 that flights have run between Gatwick and China, and will support increasing demand for travel between the two countries.

China sent a record 151,690 students to the United Kingdom in 2021/22 – more than any other country, according to data from Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). This is an increase of 41 percent since 2017-18 and accounts for 22.3 percent of international students in the UK. The flights should also provide an economic boost for the tourism industry in London and the Southeast, with Chinese visitors spending £1,828 per visit and £1.8 billion in 2019, according to Visit Britain. They will also further open up the cultural adventure opportunity to visit China and explore its diverse beauty.

Stephanie Wear, VP Aviation Development, Gatwick Airport said: ‘We are delighted to welcome Air China back to London Gatwick, providing a vital connection between two of the world’s most influential capital cities.

‘China is the world’s second-largest economy, so by offering direct flights between London and Beijing, Gatwick is providing an important service to people and businesses across the Southeast

‘It is also great news for tourism and hospitality across the region. Chinese visitors are traditionally high spenders so the return of regular flights will help support these sectors, which suffered so badly throughout the pandemic.’

Jingjie Li, General Manager, Air China London said: ‘We are delighted to resume our direct service from London Gatwick to Beijing. We are well prepared to serve passengers travelling between the UK and China, and via our hub at Beijing Capital Airport to beyond.’

The return of Air China means Gatwick will offer passengers a choice of nearly 50 long-haul destinations this summer, and as an Air China hub, Beijing Capital International Airport also provides onward connections throughout China and more widely across Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

British Airways resumes flights to mainland China

British Airways has announced that it will resume flights between the UK and mainland China this summer.

The resumption comes after a two-year absence following the Coronavirus pandemic. British Airways first flew to China in 1980 and continued to do so until the pandemic. As it resumes the services, tickets are now on sale for flights to Shanghai from April 23 and Beijing from June 3.

From 23 April, flights will operate daily between London Heathrow and Shanghai Pudong International Airport – flight numbers BA168/BA169. From June 3, flights will operate four times per week between London Heathrow and Beijing Daxing Airport – flight numbers BA88/89. The schedule is subject to operational change and regulatory approval, the airline said.

Noella Ferns, British Airways’ head of sales, Asia Pacific, said: ‘We can’t wait to welcome our customers back on board our flights from Shanghai and Beijing. We know they’ve been looking forward to reuniting with family and friends, coming to study in the UK and resuming business between China and the UK. We have an incredibly rich history of flying to mainland China, having connected the two countries for more than 40 years. We look forward to resuming these routes again.’

British Airways plans to move to Beijing Daxing later this year

British Airways has recently announced that all its direct flights to and from Heathrow and Beijing will move to the new Daxing airport from October 27, 2019.

British Airways is the first international airline to move all operations to Beijing Daxing, in recognition of the increasing travel between China and the UK.

The new airport is around 50km from both Beijing city centre and the Xiong’an New Area and around 80km from Tianjin. With over 52,000 square metres available for retail, food and beverage and services, Beijing Daxing boasts over 300 shops and restaurants and a brand-new partner lounge.

Noella Ferns, British Airways’ Executive Vice President in Greater China and the Philippines, said: ‘We are very excited to be moving to Beijing Daxing. Not only will the new airport offer our customers flying to and from Beijing a world-class experience, with state-of-the-art facilities including an improved lounge for our Club World and First customers; but it will also support our ambition to increase leisure and business travel between China and the UK.’

Beijing Daxing is set to open in September 2019, and will initially house four runways and one terminal building. The London to Beijing route will continue as a daily service, operated by a Boeing 787-9 in the winter and a Boeing 777-300 in the summer, with four cabins: First, Club World (business class), World Traveller Plus (premium economy) and World Traveller (economy). Return fares will start from £387 for World Traveller, £758 for World Traveller Plus, £1,899 for Club World and £2,199 for First. Customers who choose to cut the cost of flights, by using Avios part payment, could pay £187 plus 39,000 Avios. The airport move will also help British Airways to strengthen and develop its network through its code-share agreement with China Southern Airlines, which will also be based at the new airport. British Airways and China Southern Airlines launched a code-share agreement across 10 routes in 2017. In January 2019, the airlines signed a Memorandum of Understanding to expand the agreement on each other’s networks and implement reciprocal frequent flyer benefits, British Airways said in its release. on; \lsds

Hainan Airlines commences first direct flight from Dublin to Beijing

China-headquartered Hainan Airlines has commenced its first ever direct route to mainland China from Dublin Airport.

The new service comes after nearly 120,000 passengers travelled between Ireland and mainland China last year, with about a quarter of them travelling between Dublin and Beijing. Hainan will operate the year-round Dublin to Beijing direct service using an Airbus A330 aircraft on Tuesdays and Saturdays and via Edinburgh on Thursdays and Sundays.

Commenting on the new Dublin to Beijing service, Dublin Airport Managing Director Vincent Harrison said, ‘We are delighted to welcome Hainan Airlines to Dublin Airport and to Ireland. We have worked really hard to bring this direct route to Ireland and today is the result of many years of dialogue. I would like to thank a wide range of other bodies such as Irish Embassy in China, our colleagues at Tourism Ireland and other key stakeholders such as IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and Bord Bia, all of whom helped to get us to the launch here today.

‘Trade between Ireland and China is hugely important for our economy and it is currently estimated to be worth more than EUR14.9 billion per year. The new direct route will greatly facilitate Irish firms and exporters with operations and clients in China, as well as China’s financial services and technology companies investing in Ireland. Ireland is also home to more than 5,000 Chinese students attending Irish educational institutions. This new direct service makes travelling between the capital cities of Ireland and China much easier and I have no doubt it will be popular for both business and leisure travellers. We will work closely with Hainan Airlines to market the new route.’

Hainan Airlines Chairman Bao Quifa added, ‘We are delighted to launch this first ever direct route between Dublin and Beijing and we are very proud that Hainan Airlines will play a central role in forging greater friendship and cooperation between our two countries. We look forward to welcoming many Irish and Chinese guests on board our five-star Skytrax service.’

The direct Beijing-Dublin flights will operate on Thursdays and Sundays. Flights will depart Beijing at 01:30, arriving in Dublin at 06:00. The direct Dublin-Beijing service will operate on Tuesdays and Saturdays and will depart Dublin Airport at 11:10, arriving in Beijing at 05:00 the next day.

The Beijing-Edinburgh-Dublin service will operate on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Flights will depart Beijing at 01:30, arriving in Dublin at 09:10 via Edinburgh. The Dublin-Edinburgh-Beijing service will operate on Thursdays and Sundays, departing at 08:00 and arriving in Beijing via Edinburgh at 05:00 the next day, Dublin Airport said.

Hainan Airlines launches Beijing to Manchester direct air service

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.

Beijing Feeling offers tours to Beijing

China-based BeijingFeeling.com, a travel service company in Beijing, is offering a novel travel service to Beijing.

The company has announced its Beijing Feeling Tour Service, which includes Old and New Beijing tour packages. The firm said that under the Old Beijing Feeling Tour package, tourists would be taken to visit the old Hutongs in Beijing and the ancient Great Wall of China. The tours would highlight the structures that were characteristic of old Beijing, and which added to its historical splendour.

In contrast to the Old Beijing Feeling Tour is the New Beijing Tour, which essentially highlights the modern aspects of Beijing and offers a stark contrast to Old Beijing. The tour mainly includes the Bird Nest stadium, which is considered to be one of the ‘World’s Top 10 Constructions,’ the CCTV Headquarters, the 798 Art Factory, Houhai Bar Street, Nanluoguxiang street and Yandai Byway. Each of these locations reflects the modern China. For example, the 798 Art Zone is a part of Dashanzi in the Chaoyang District of Beijing that houses a thriving artistic community. It also houses 50-year old decommissioned military factory buildings of unique architectural style and is often compared with New York’s Greenwich Village or Soho.

The purpose of the tours is to highlight the splendour of old Beijing and the modernisation of the capital that was carried out without losing its ancient elements.

Alan Zhang, CEO of BeijingFeeling.com, said, ‘The Old Beijing Feeling Tour will provide visitors a good chance to experience the aged Beijing lifestyle and culture. The old Hutong tour shows you the traditional culture and original lifestyle. Visitors on Hutong tour will visit the typical Chinese quadrangles, where you can experience the real life of ordinary people in Beijing. We try to be original, unique and different from our competitors in how to satisfy and impress our valuable clients. Additionally, we provide visitors with a fast, sincerity, flexibility and reliable response to their requirements in China.’

Founded in 2008, BeijingFeeling.com offers more than 200 pre-designed packages to China.

IATA Urges Governments to Partner Aviation Industry in Growth

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), an industry-wide association of 240 airlines operating around 84 percent of global air traffic, has called on governments worldwide to partner with the aviation industry in helping the industry to sustain its economic advantages.

The association is currently hosting its 68th IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Beijing, China. In its current session, IATA has reported that in 2011, the aviation industry has flown around 2.8 billion passengers, and 48 million tons of cargo. The aviation industry has also transported goods worth $5.3 trillion by air, representing around 35 percent of all goods traded worldwide.

Addressing the AGM participants at the opening session, Tony Tyler, the IATA director general and chief executive officer, said, ‘Our industry’s license to grow is earned through working with governments to constantly make flying even safer, more secure, and more sustainable. Now we need an agenda to achieve tax regimes that do not kill growth, regulation that facilitates growth and infrastructure that can efficiently accommodate growth. Doing so will enable the substantial economic benefits-jobs and growth-that global connectivity provides.

Aviation’s benefits are not guaranteed. Aviation is expected to grow about 5 percent annually to 2030. If that growth is held back by even 1 percentage point, the global economy will forfeit over a trillion dollars and 14 million jobs. Modern economies cannot prosper and create jobs if they are not connected to global opportunities through aviation. Governments need to unleash the power of aviation to drive jobs and growth. And airlines need to be successful businesses-keeping revenues ahead of costs and generating returns for their shareholders-to deliver economic benefits.’

Beijing to Host IATA Annual General Meeting in 2012

Aviation industry leaders will be gathering in Beijing, China, next week to discuss the industry issues at the 68th IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit, to be held in the Chinese capital by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

IATA, an industry-wide association of 240 airline companies that operate around 84 percent of all global air traffic, will be discussing the industry outlook on various issues, including bio fuels, the effect of social media on the aviation industry, and the future of airline distribution.

The IATA Annual General Meeting will be commencing on June 11, 2012, and will be co-sponsored by Air China, the national air carrier of China.

Tony Tyler, the IATA director general and chief executive officer, said, ‘Oil prices are high, although moderating somewhat from recent peaks. The European sovereign debt crisis is unresolved and we are seeing signs that it is starting to affect Asia’s export-driven economies. And the largely jobless recovery from the 2008 global financial crisis is proceeding at a glacial pace. Passenger demand is strong, cargo is weak and the industry’s profitability remains razor thin.

Beijing is a fitting location for this year’s AGM. It is IATA’s home in North Asia-the location of our largest regional office and largest billing and settlement office, with 132 million tickets processed in 2011. But even more importantly, China is a great aviation success story. The government’s strategy of using aviation to drive economic growth has seen China emerge as an aviation powerhouse.’