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

China Southern launches new direct route from Heathrow to Zhengzhou

London Heathrow has announced the launch of its first direct flight to Zhengzhou, allowing British passengers to fly directly to one of China’s eight Ancient Capital cities.

Zhengzhou is the capital of Henan Province in the central region of the People’s Republic of China. Now designated a National Civilized City, Zhengzhou is also a Chinese manufacturing hub, where nearly 70 per cent of Apple iPhones sold worldwide are manufactured.

A first direct service from Europe, the new Zhengzhou route operated by China Southern is Heathrow’s 13th direct connection to China. The flight will carry travellers into the heart of ancient Chinese culture, offering them opportunity to explore the famous Shaolin Monastery and Pagoda Forest, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, considered the birth-place of the ancient martial art of kung-fu.

Zhengzhou is also one of the most important textile centres in the country, and British businesses and passengers will now be able to directly access the heart of industrial – as well as ancient – China, the airport said.

Ross Baker, Heathrow’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: ‘The launch of our new route to Zhengzhou is an exciting opportunity for passengers and will provide Europe’s only direct connection to this unique Chinese destination. At Heathrow, we are committed to opening-up more routes to China as part of our strategy to drive forward the UK’s global connectivity for years to come.’

China Southern’s Zhengzhou service will be operated twice weekly out of Terminal 4 and use a 787-800 aircraft. It will offer an annual 55,328 seats and 2,080 tonnes of cargo space.

The number of destinations available via Heathrow – the UK’s only hub airport – has allowed exports to China to increase by 135 per cent in value from 2018 compared to 2017, totalling over £7 billion, the airport noted.

Hainan Airlines launches new direct service to Shenzhen from Dublin Airport

Dublin Airport has announced the launch of Hainan Airlines’ new year-round direct service to Shenzhen.

Known to be China’s tech hub, Shenzhen is described as ‘China’s most innovative city’ by Lonely Planet and ranked second in its Top 10 Cities to visit in 2019. The city is a about a 40-minute bullet train ride away from both Hong Kong and Guangzhou.

The airline will operate two flights per week between Dublin and Shenzhen. The service will be operated on Mondays and Fridays with a Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner with 289 seats.

‘We are delighted Hainan is expanding its network from Dublin by adding this second destination to China,’ said Dublin Airport Managing Director Vincent Harrison. ‘Shenzhen is a really exciting destination for both business and leisure travel,’ Mr Harrison added. ‘The new route will further increase trade, tourism and investment between Ireland and China and expand the growing number of Chinese visitors to Ireland.’

Hainan Airlines’ General Manager Ireland, Ryan Zhang said: ‘We are delighted to launch this second direct route between Dublin and China. We are proud that Hainan Airlines is playing 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.’

Shenzhen will be Dublin Airport’s second destination in mainland China, as Hainan already operates a Dublin-Beijing service. Last June, Hainan launched the service to Beijing via Edinburgh. On alternate days the service either operates direct between Dublin and Beijing or has a stopover in Edinburgh.

Hainan’s Shenzhen service is one of 20 new routes at Dublin Airport for this year. Dublin Airport has flights to nearly 200 destinations in 43 countries, operated by 56 airlines.

Hainan Airlines announces New Dublin-Shenzhen Service

Dublin Airport has said that Hainan Airlines will launch a new year-round direct service from Dublin to Shenzhen later this month.

Shenzhen will be Dublin Airport’s second destination in mainland China, as Hainan already operates a Dublin-Beijing service. Hainan will operate two flights per week between Dublin and Shenzhen in south-eastern China.

Shenzhen is a 30-40-minute bullet train ride away from both Hong Kong and Guangzhou and was ranked second in Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Cities to visit in 2019. Lonely Planet described Shenzhen as ‘China’s most innovative city’ with ‘a strumming indie-music scene, cool cafes, a small contingent of craft brewers and a whole new arts district risen from the remains of former warehouses’.

Hainan will operate its new Shenzhen route using a Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner with 289 seats. The route will operate on Mondays and Fridays, beginning February 25.

‘We are delighted that Hainan has decided to expand its Irish operation and launch this new service to Shenzhen,’ said Dublin Airport Managing Director Vincent Harrison. ‘Shenzhen is China’s answer to Silicon Valley in the United States and this new route will further increase trade, tourism and investment between Ireland and China.’

Hainan’s existing Dublin-Beijing service, which currently operates twice a week, will return to four times weekly for the summer season.

‘We have worked closely with Hainan to establish this new route to Shenzhen, and over the coming weeks and months we and other stakeholders will be continuing to help them to promote this new service,’ Mr Harrison said. ‘Shenzhen is a really exciting destination for both business and leisure travel, and the addition of this new service will expand the growing number of Chinese visitors to Ireland,’ he added.

Hainan has a strong domestic network at Shenzhen and also operates flights from the city to international destinations such as Brisbane, Brussels, Madrid, Oakland, Osaka, Tel Aviv, Vancouver and Zurich.

Hainan’s Shenzhen service is one of 20 new routes at Dublin Airport for this year. Dublin Airport has flights to almost 200 destinations in 43 countries, operated by 56 airlines and is the 11th busiest airport in the European Union.

London Gatwick announces new route to Shanghai by China Eastern

London Gatwick has launched a new route to Shanghai, offering British passengers direct access to one of China’s key business hubs.

Operated by China Eastern, Gatwick’s new service to Shanghai Pudong Airport will operate three times every week – on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Operated using an Airbus A330-200, the route will provide over 70,000 seats and over 3,700 metric tonnes of cargo capacity – in both directions – every year.

China’s largest city, Shanghai is one of the world’s fastest-developing metropolises. The focal point of China’s growth story, Shanghai dominates the Yangtze River Economic Zone – a region accounting for 20 percent of China’s GDP. In addition to being a global financial hub and the centre for trade, technology and real estate within China, Shanghai is also an attractive tourist destination, known for its unique style of architecture.

Guy Stephenson, Chief Commercial Officer, Gatwick Airport said: ‘The addition of one of the world’s biggest financial centres to Gatwick’s route network is very good news for the UK, particularly as connections to China and other non-European countries are set to take on extra significance in the New Year and beyond.

‘With China being one of the UK’s main trading partners, this is a vital business route connecting two of the world’s most important cities – but Shanghai is equally an exciting and much sought-after tourist destination. We’re pleased to welcome China Eastern to Gatwick for the first time and are delighted that our passengers now have direct access to everything that China’s largest city has to offer.’

The new Shanghai route comes after an increased demand from Gatwick passengers for flights to China. The number of passengers travelling to China from Gatwick increased by 54.3 percent year-on-year during the first half of the current financial year.

Gatwick operates over 60 different long haul routes, with one in six of the airport’s 46 million annual passengers now travelling to long-haul destinations, the airport noted.

London Gatwick announces new direct route to Shanghai

London Gatwick has announced a new long-haul connection to Shanghai – China’s largest city – as Gatwick recorded year-on-year long-haul growth of 20.8 percent in July.

The new service will be operated by China Eastern and will connect the UK to one of the world’s leading business centres, providing over 70,000 seats and more than 3,700 metric tonnes of new cargo capacity each year. The new China Eastern Airlines service to Shanghai will begin on December 7, 2018. The Airbus A330-200 will depart from Gatwick on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 12:00 and will fly to Shanghai Pudong Airport.

Stewart Wingate, CEO, Gatwick Airport said: ‘I’m delighted to welcome China Eastern to Gatwick and look forward to the start of this vital new link to Shanghai which, like London, is undoubtedly one of the world’s most important cities and business hubs. Starting from such a strong position gives this new route every chance of success, as it will be popular with business passengers travelling between the two economic centres, as well as leisure passengers keen to sample the excitement of China’s largest city.

‘July’s traffic figures demonstrate that Gatwick’s long-haul network is driving the airport’s growth. These connections to China and other non-European countries will take on extra significance in a post-Brexit Britain as we become more reliant on them to generate vital growth through trade and by exploiting the other business opportunities that they provide.’

A global financial centre like London, Shanghai is at the centre of China’s economic growth. It is also the leading city driving the Yangtze River Economic Zone – a region accounting for 20 percent of China’s GDP and responsible for a third of the country’s imports and exports, the airport said.

The launch of the new route follows one of the busiest Julys in Gatwick’s history, with cargo handled by the airport growing by 28.8 percent year-on-year. In October, the airport will also see the launch of new Norwegian flights from Gatwick to the Florida city of Tampa, it added.

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.

Gatwick Airport to introduce UK’s first flight to Chongqing from June

Gatwick Airport has announced the launch of the UK’s first ever direct flights to Chongqing – one of world’s leading urban centres and a major manufacturing and transportation hub in southwest China.

The twice weekly, year round flights will then continue to China’s fourth largest city, Tianjin, Gatwick said. The move comes as the latest figures from VisitBritain showed that tourist numbers to the UK from China were up 37 percent in the first nine months of 2015.

Starting from June 25, Chinese carrier Tianjin Airlines will operate an Airbus A330 on the new Gatwick-Chongqing-Tianjin route – the airline’s first long haul flights outside Asia, strengthening its existing network serving over a 100 cities across China. The new Gatwick route will depart from the airport every Wednesday and Saturday evening at 22:25.

Guy Stephenson, Gatwick’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: ‘By flying into two of China’s most important economic centres, Gatwick is providing vital direct connections for UK business people into some of the most exciting growth markets on the planet.

‘Tourists from both the UK and China will also benefit, as will non-exporting businesses located in the UK as Chinese visitors are some of the highest spenders. The number of tourists from China also grew almost 40% last year alone and these numbers are only going to rise.

‘The two new Chinese destinations compliment Gatwick’s growing long haul network which now boasts over 50 destinations on four continents.’

Patricia Yates, VisitBritain and VisitEngland Director, said: ‘China is the world’s largest outbound market and a huge tourism opportunity for Britain. We have ambitions to double the spend from Chinese visitors to GBP1 billion by 2020 and making it easier for them to get here is obviously a really important step in increasing our competitive tourism offer to this rapidly growing market.’

While Chongqing is well connected to the rest of China, Tianjin is located in northeast China and is the major gateway port serving the capital Beijing. It is also home to a Special Economic Zone. Both cities are currently not flown to from the UK.

To serve the new Gatwick-Chongqing-Tianjin route, Tianjin Airlines will operate an A330 aircraft designed to carry 260-passengers with 18 business class seats and 242 economy class seats, Gatwick Airport said in a release.

Heathrow receives new Great China Welcome Charter, joins China tourism campaign

Heathrow Airport is joining the China tourism campaign after receiving Visit Britain’s new Great China Welcome Charter in recognition of the airport’s friendly welcome to Chinese visitors.

The Charter aims to help Chinese visitors to easily identify hotels, attractions as well as retailers and tour operators who provide customers with information in Chinese.

The Charter comes at a time when Air China is looking to double its flights from Heathrow to Beijing in October, when Heathrow will have 51 departures per week to the mainland and 50 to Hong Kong. That would also make Heathrow the only UK airport where passengers can travel direct to destinations including Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing and Chengdu.

Chris Butler, Heathrow’s Airline Business Development Director, said, ‘China is one of the most valuable markets for the UK and Heathrow is the only airport in the country able to offer regular, direct flights to both Hong Kong and cities in the mainland. We all gain culturally and economically with closer links there, which is why we were delighted to announce Air China’s doubling of services from Heathrow to Beijing, and why we have recently produced a travel guide in Mandarin for Chinese passengers to help provide them with more information about Heathrow when they arrive.’

Jo Leslie, who manages the Great China Welcome programme for Visit Britain, said, ‘There is strong evidence that businesses who go the extra mile in catering for certain nationalities quickly reap the benefits. Heathrow Airport has been quick to recognise the massive potential of the Chinese market and invested accordingly. We’re delighted to be able to count them as one of our members and hope that many more British tourism and hospitality businesses will follow their example.’

The Great China Welcome Charter was launched in March by Visit Britain to make Britain the destination of choice for the fast growing Chinese market. The Charter now has close to 200 members as Chinese visitors to Britain have doubled in the past five years, and is expected to treble again by 2020.