Five new air routes to link UK and China
Posted on Dec 11, 2016 CRI
The routes have been enabled, in part, by a recent relaxation of the agreement that governs flights between China and the UK.
As part of a strategic partnership with UK tourism organisation VisitBritain, HNA Group have announced that they will launch five new routes to link Great Britain and China.
HNA has interests in multiple Chinese air carriers, although we understand that these new routes will be served principally by Beijing Capital, Hainan and Tianjin Airlines. The group also has investments in a number of foreign airlines, including Virgin Australia.
At present, Hainan serves Birmingham and Manchester, and Tianjin has routes to London Gatwick, although Beijing Capital does not serve the UK.
It is reported that the new routes announced as part of the VisitBritain partnership will include linking British cities to Chengdu, Changsha, Qingdao, Shenzhen and Xi'an.
In November, as part of VisitBritain week on sino.uk, we revealed that forward bookings between the two countries were already looking very strong.
VisitBritain's research shows that forward bookings from China to the UK have increased by nearly one quarter.
The data, from ForwardKeys, covers flight tickets over the current period compared with last year, and demonstrates a rise of 24 percent.
There are several reasons that might be behind this increase. Firstly, the weakness of the British currency is making visits to the UK much more affordable to overseas visitors.
There is also thought to be growing demand amongst Chinese tourists to explore the UK, and to experience British culture first-hand.
The work that VisitBritain have done to market the country to Chinese people is also understood to have had a positive impact on the number of inbound tourists.