China¡¯s Hainan Airlines launched its second non-stop flight service to the UK on Friday, connecting London with Changsha, the capital of Hunan province.
The three times a week new service is the latest addition to the more than 100 weekly flights between London and China currently in operation, and rides on a wave of increasing travels between UK and China.
Bao Qifa, chairman of Hainan Airlines, said the new route will ¡°further contribute to the enhancement of bilateral trade and cultural exchanges between the two countries¡±.
Hainan Airlines began direct flights between Manchester and Beijing in June 2016. It also has plans to launch a Beijing-Edinburgh-Dublin service in June.
Growing UK-China air links have already realized value in the UK¡¯s economy and supported job creation, according to a new report released this week by the London-based consultancy Frontier Economics, commissioned by Heathrow Airport.
Frontier Economics estimates the launch of the Changsha-London flight, and two other flights connecting London with Xi¡¯an and Qingdao, will add 26 million pounds ($36.79 million) value annually to the UK economy through trade and foreign direct investment, and create 830 jobs in the UK.
Tianjin Airlines will begin flights between Xi¡¯an and London in May. Beijing Capital Airlines has also announced it will convert its existing charter operation to a scheduled route to Qingdao, with a twice-weekly service starting next week.
¡°China is booming and the appetite for British goods is stronger than ever. We are delighted to welcome these new airlines and routes,¡± Heathrow Airport Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye said.
This year, Holland-Kaye is seeking approval for expansion plans that would include a new runway and terminal infrastructure. The airport chief hopes the study will show that the proposed expansion, and additional routes and destinations in China, will boost the economy.