Virgin Atlantic and China Eastern strengthen travel links with codeshare

Virgin Atlantic and China Eastern have announced a strategic partnership through a new codeshare agreement, reinforcing vital business and leisure ties to East Asia and expanding access to various destinations within China.

In the initial phase of this collaboration, passengers booking through Virgin Atlantic can seamlessly connect from the airline’s Heathrow to Shanghai services to multiple destinations in China, such as Chengdu, Changsha, Qingdao, Shenzhen, and Xi’an. Tickets for these flights are now available.

In reciprocation, China Eastern customers, pending government approval, will soon be able to connect via Heathrow to Caribbean and African destinations, including Jamaica, Nassau, Lagos, Cape Town, and Johannesburg. Both airlines are members of the SkyTeam alliance, with Virgin Atlantic having joined last year. The two carriers have been co-located at Shanghai Pudong Terminal One since November, providing benefits such as SkyPriority services for Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Gold and Silver members and China Eastern Miles members, encompassing priority check-in, boarding, and additional baggage allowances.

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic, commented, ‘China and East Asia is an incredibly important region for Virgin Atlantic and we were delighted to welcome back our Heathrow to Shanghai service last year, providing vital links to one of the UK’s largest trading partners, for both passenger and cargo services.

‘Our new codeshare with China Eastern, a fellow SkyTeam partner, will serve continued demand for travel to the region and strengthens our commitment to China and East Asia. We know these agreements bring plenty of benefits to our customers, from increased network scope to China and beyond, to reciprocal loyalty rewards for our Flying Club members.’

The expanded codeshare not only facilitates a smoother travel experience but also offers Virgin Flying Club members accelerated rewards, with opportunities to earn both Virgin Points and Tier Points on every codeshare flight with China Eastern. The option to redeem Virgin Points is anticipated to be available shortly.

Virgin Atlantic resumed its Shanghai services on May 1, 2023, post the global pandemic, recognizing China’s significance as one of the UK’s most crucial trading partners. Shanghai, being the country’s largest city and a renowned commercial and financial hub, plays a pivotal role in fostering international connectivity and economic relationships.

Virgin Atlantic relaunches flights to Shanghai

Virgin Atlantic has relaunched its services to Shanghai, re-establishing its business and leisure connections between the United Kingdom and China.

The daily service will resume today, May 1, 2023, with fares starting from GBP432 per person. The move comes after a relaxation in travel restrictions between the two countries, which sees the borders reopening to foreign nationals for the first time since December 23, 2020.

Following the restart announcement earlier this year, there has been strong demand for both business and leisure travel in both directions.

Known as China’s primary hub of modernity, innovation and futurism, Shanghai is today one of the world’s most promising cities. The city also offers UK tourists a melting pot of culture, from Pudong district’s futuristic skyline, the world-famous waterfront promenade, the Bund, to the traditional pavilions in Yu Gardens.

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic, commented: ‘The restart of our services to Shanghai is a major milestone for Virgin Atlantic. Shanghai was the first of our routes to be suspended in 2020 at the start of the global pandemic and the last to return, making it the final piece to restore our flying programme to full capacity.

‘After such a long hiatus, we’re looking forward to welcoming our customers back to Shanghai and providing vital links to one of the UK’s largest trading partners, for both passenger and cargo services.’

Virgin Atlantic’s Shanghai flights will continue to operate on a Boeing 787-9. Customers travelling to China will need to show proof of a negative PCR test before they enter the country, alongside a health declaration form.

Shanghai is also a hub to the airline’s new SkyTeam partner, China Eastern. Offering a wide range of connections throughout China and beyond, Virgin Atlantic customers will be able to connect to onward services. Flying Club members will soon be able to earn and redeem Virgin Points across China Eastern’s flying programme, alongside other SkyTeam partners.

Virgin Atlantic confirms Shanghai relaunch date

Virgin Atlantic has said that it will restart its flights to Shanghai, re-establishing both business and leisure connections between the United Kingdom and China.

The move comes following a relaxation in travel restrictions between the two countries, which sees the borders reopening to foreign nationals for the first time since 2020. Shanghai is Virgin Atlantic’s final route to be re-instated following the global pandemic, having been closed for a total of 859 days at the point of its relaunch.

The daily service will resume on May 01, 2023, with fares starting from £669 per person.

As it did prior to the pandemic, Virgin Atlantic’s Shanghai flights will operate on a Boeing 787-9.

China remains one of the most important trading partners to the UK and as the country’s largest city, Shanghai is a world renowned commercial and financial hub, as well as a promising tourist destination, and a gateway to China’s incredibly diverse scenery and culture. Shanghai is also a hub to the airline’s new SkyTeam partner, China Eastern, which offers a wide range of connections throughout China and beyond for onwards travel.

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic, commented: ‘The return of our Shanghai services has been a long-time coming and I’m delighted it’s finally a reality. We’re looking forward to welcoming our customers back on board and providing vital links to one of the UK’s largest trading partners, for both passenger and cargo services.

‘Shanghai is the final route to return following the global pandemic, restoring our flying programme to full capacity. Our focus for 2023 is on delivery, as we look forward to launching routes to new destinations, welcoming brand new clean, green aircraft and getting back to our best for our customers and people.’

Customers travelling to China do not need to show proof of vaccination, however each passenger will need to show proof of a negative PCR test before they enter the country, alongside a health declaration form.

Passengers arriving from China into the UK must take a negative PCR or lateral flow test. Customers are advised to check https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/china for the latest travel advice.

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.

Shanghai sets date for tourism festival

The tourism department of Shanghai has set official dates for a tourist festival to be hosted in the city.

The department said that the annual event is to be launched on September 15 this year, and will continue until October 6. This year, the department is planning to allow more travel companies to take part in the festivities, with the intention of promoting tourism in the city. The authorities are also expecting an increase in domestic as well as international tourism this year. The city administration has smartened up the city for the event, and hotels and business establishments are planning to lure visitors with discounts and special services.

Dao Shuming, the city’s tourism director, said that 42 tourist spots and 16 hotels have committed to offer discounts to tourists during the event. The authorities are also planning to host new attractions and services in order to keep guests entertained. For example, the city administration is planning to organise fishing events in Qingpu and Jinshan, and the events are expected to attract tourists to the two suburban districts.

The city has also made arrangements for transport services to cater to the needs of increased tourist numbers. The administration has commissioned two Pudong-based touring bus lines that will link tourist spots from both sides of the Huangpu River. Various kinds of tourist packages will be on offer during the festival. Depending on their choices, customers may opt for half-day, one-day and two-day tours.

The Chinese city of Shanghai offers various tourist attractions and has been a popular destination for international tourists over the years. One of its most popular attractions is the Huangpu River and its surroundings. Shanghai’s key river divides the city into its eastern and western sectors.

The Nanjing Road is considered to be the top commercial street in China, while the Yuyuan Garden is the largest of Shanghai’s ancient gardens, with Ming and Qing architectural styles. The Jade Buddha Temple is one of the most famous Buddhist shrines in Shanghai, while another popular attraction is Xin Tian Di, famous for its historical and cultural Chinese elements. Over the years it has evolved into a fashionable pedestrian street in the centre of the city.

Figures show that in the first seven months of this year, 3.38 million foreign tourists have visited Shanghai.

 

CTR event launched in Shanghai

The inaugural China Travel Retail (CTR) event was launched at the Marriott City Centre Hotel in Shanghai.

The first day of the event, which also hosted an exhibition, attracted about 180 delegates, and was intended to provide an insight into how the Shanghai Hongqiao airport is responding to demand for an improved travel-retail requirement from passengers.

The event was opened with a presentation from Shanghai Hong Kong Airport Management executive vice-general manager, Michael Yuan. He said that the 17,000sq m of commercial space at Hongqiao airport has to cater to the needs of about 33 million passengers a year. About 90 percent of the passengers are domestic travellers and 10 percent are international travellers.

Yuan said, ‘We have just 17,000sq m for commercial purposes so how can we maximise commercial opportunity and meet needs of passengers? We can’t devote the whole area to first-class brands as need to consider food and beverage. The rapid development of other airports in Shanghai, rivals from downtown retail and insufficient commercial space to satisfy our requirements are all challenges we must overcome. The existing retail portfolio, management systems and communication platform must all be adjusted. We have limited space so needed to plan carefully, but have made a great breakthrough among our piers in being the first to introduce Armani and Hermes stores in Chinese travel-retail.’

Hainan Duty Free Goods vice-chairman and general manager, Wang Yong Fan, said that the developing duty-free policy for travellers would do a lot of good for domestic businesses.

 

Has Shanghai’s Rapid Development Hurt Traditional Tourist Sites?

Just twenty years ago, Shanghai’s bustling central business district was made up of small processing plants and farming communities. Today, Pudong is home to some of the world’s largest corporations and financial companies, with multinational firms competing for office space in some of the world’s largest towers. Is it pretty? Not quite. But it is the future, particularly for China’s business centres.

It’s a scene that’s becoming increasingly common across China’s eastern seaboard. With the country in a state of rapid development and its previously sheltered economy opened up to investment, this image of ultra-quick growth it one that’s ubiquitous throughout China. In most ways, it’s a fantastic achievement, but it’s also becoming a reason for tourism industry operators to begin to worry.

Rewind twenty years and Shanghai becomes a distinctly shorter city. The central district’s offices top out at ten stories, with farmland dominating the horizon and small shops bringing in almost all of the city’s revenue. It’s an idyllic tourist paradise, but it’s one that is almost completely invisible just twenty years later. Shanghai is growing, for lack of a better term, on steroids.

Some fear that it will kill the city’s tourist industry, as cultural locations and historical buildings are wiped off the map in favour of large office complexes and high-tech transport services. Others take a different approach to China’s rapid inner-city development, claiming that a high-tech centre will attract visitors in a similar fashion to that seen in Hong Kong.

For China’s small but dedicated historical tourism industry, it’s a major setback. With demand for accommodation within the city at a high point, it should be a victory for China’s tourism operators, particularly those in Shanghai. But alongside the rapid growth and economic development is a lack of care, one that’s been preserved in historical high-growth cities such as Hong Kong and Tokyo.