ADS Advance – Direct Air Links to China from Manchester Airport Restored
Hainan Airlines has resumed its Beijing-Manchester service for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
Image courtesy of MAG
The airline began flying from the northern hub in 2016, with the route continuing to unlock hundreds of millions of pounds in trade, investment and tourism benefits.
The British and Chinese governments agreed last week that Manchester-China was one of the air corridors that could resume after a two-and-a-half-year hiatus and Hainan moved quickly to start operating the popular service again from Monday August 22 2022, in time for the busy student season.
The news was hailed as a major boost for the North and the UK’s upgrade ambitions, with Manchester Airport becoming the only gateway outside London with a direct service to mainland China.
Chris Woodroofe, Managing Director of Manchester Airport, said: “[The] This announcement is clear evidence of the vital economic role Manchester Airport is playing, both in the North and across the UK, as we emerge from the pandemic.
“Before 2020, Hainan’s service provided vital connectivity to one of the world’s most important economies and I’m sure this news will be welcomed by the hundreds of thousands of people across the North who travel to and from the China every year.
“It is extremely positive to see critical routes like this return to our departure charts and we look forward to working closely with Hainan Airlines to build on the previous success of this route.”
Before the pandemic, there were around 100,000 people a year traveling between Manchester and Beijing from the airport’s catchment area.
Economic impact studies have shown that the road has led to a 38% increase in the number of Chinese visitors to the North, with average expenditure per visit increasing by 94%, and the value of exports increasing by 41%.
The return of the road will also be incredibly encouraging for the more than 40 universities in the airport’s catchment area which welcome thousands of Chinese students each year.
Due to policy in China, the outbound service to Beijing will initially stop in the Chinese city of Dalian, but the inbound service will be direct from Beijing. From October the service will operate on a Tuesday.
Tao Zhu, CEO of Hainan Airlines, said, “It’s great to bring Hainan Airlines back to Manchester. Hainan Airlines is a Skytrax rated 5 star airline and we will be operating an A330 aircraft on the route offering both economy and business class. The flight arrives in Manchester at 10.00am every Monday and departs at 3.00pm.
“At the start of the flight resumption, it will first pass through Dalian. After completing the seven-day quarantine, passengers will be able to fly to other destinations in China according to their preferences.
The resumption of the route has been well received by organizations in the North.
Rhys Whalley, Executive Director of Manchester China Forum (Acting Managing Director, MIDAS), said, “We are delighted to see the return of Hainan Airlines to Manchester Airport. This is good news and signals our return to improved connectivity with mainland China.
“Over the past two years, MCF has worked hand in hand with Hainan Airlines, the University of Manchester and wider partners to help students continue their education through the operation of charter flights.
“The resumption of scheduled services between the UK and China is a very welcome development and one that will serve to accelerate post-pandemic recovery and engagement with the world’s leading growth economy.”
Patricia Yates, CEO of VisitEngland/VisitBritain, said: “We want to provide a world-class welcome to returning Chinese visitors and resuming services to facilitate their arrival here is a crucial part of our competitive tourism offering and post- covid.
“In 2019, China was the UK’s second most valuable inbound market, worth £1.7 billion and the direct route from Hainan to Manchester will not only act as a gateway to the greater North West, but will also make it easier for visitors to come and explore regional Britain and the economic benefits of growing tourism across the UK.
Zheng Xiyuan, Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Manchester, said: “On October 23, 2015, President Xi Jinping announced at Manchester Airport that Hainan Airlines would launch a direct flight from Beijing to Manchester, which would build a new cooperation bridge. between the two cities and the two countries. The route was suspended due to COVID-19, but despite this Hainan Airlines continued to send tens of thousands of Chinese students to Manchester on charter flights during the pandemic.
“Used mainly by Chinese students, the route is their way to continue their knowledge and their way home, and the bridge of white clouds carrying the longing of countless parents for their children, and the deep friendship between the Chinese and the British. I am very happy that this route has been successfully relaunched, and it is the best way to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Chinese and United Kingdom ambassadors.