Manchester Airport celebrates first direct flight to China
13 June 2016 • Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, International Airport Review
Manchester Airport has marked the start of its first direct, scheduled flight to mainland China – the first Airport to do so outside of London.
In a drive to create a Northern Powerhouse, a new direct flight to from Manchester Airport to Beijing took off for the first time on 10 June 2016. The flight, operated by the Hainan Airlines, will provide a direct connection for the first time, giving the 100,000 passengers travelling each year between the two cities the convenience of direct scheduled services.
Announced in October 2015 by the President of the People’s Republic of China, His Excellency Xi Jinping, the four times a week route will help enhance trade and tourism to both cities.
Manchester Airport – Beijing route worth £250m in economic benefits
The Manchester-Beijing route is worth at least £250 million in economic benefits to the UK over the next decade. According to Manchester Airport, two-thirds of this will be felt directly in the Northern economy in terms of increased jobs, economic activity and tourism. The route will also cut journey times for passengers by stopping the need to change planes at other airports.
“The new route between Manchester and Beijing is a testament to the strength of the Northern Powerhouse”
Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “The new route between Manchester and Beijing is a testament to the strength of the Northern Powerhouse, opening up the North of England to investment while benefitting the many thousands of people who currently travel between the cities each year.
“Not only will this add an estimated quarter of a billion pounds to the local economy over the next decade, it will open new opportunities for businesses in both countries, boost tourism between China and the UK and will encourage students in both countries to experience studying in a new and different culture. This is an exciting new development for Manchester, the North of England and the UK.”
“Summer load factors currently averaging out at more than 80%”
Ken O’Toole, CEO of Manchester Airport said: “Today’s inaugural flight with Hainan Airlines is clear evidence of the vital economic role that Manchester Airport plays both nationally and regionally within the UK.
“Providing a direct link between the two cities unlocks significant trade and investment opportunities, which will serve as a shot in the arm to efforts to create a reenergised Northern economy.
“This direct route will also have a significant impact on inbound tourism across the whole of the North.
“And the early indications are good, with summer load factors currently averaging out at more than 80%.”
“I am sure the route between Manchester and Beijing will be incredibly popular”
Xie Haoming, President of Hainan Airlines, said: “We are delighted to commence our direct scheduled service to Manchester. Beijing to Manchester’s inaugural outbound and inbound flight load factors have reached over 90%, which is incredibly strong for a new route.
“A great number of travel agencies expressed their strong interest in working with Hainan Airlines, based upon the new route, which is encouraging for future travel between the two cities.
“With the ‘Golden Age’ of travel starting between China and the UK, it is foreseeable that the market between the two countries is entering a prosperous period.
“I am sure the route between Manchester and Beijing will be incredibly popular and we look forward to developing our relationship with the city.”