Hainan Airlines have announced a change of aircraft to their Manchester-Beijing route, which is due to launch in June 2016. The change up from an Airbus 330-200 to A330-300 will increase capacity on the route, operating four times a week. Manchester is the only UK airport outside of London with a direct scheduled service to China.
Xie Haoming, Chairman of Hainan Airlines said: “We are delighted to be able to increase the capacity on our flights to and from Manchester. It highlights just how committed Hainan Airlines is on making this route a success.
“After what has been an incredibly positive Chinese New Year, we are now all focussed on the route commencing in June. We look forward to welcoming passengers from the North and I am sure our Chinese passengers cannot wait to come and visit Manchester and the wider region.”
The economic benefits of the direct service to Beijing from Manchester have an estimated worth of at least £250 million to the UK over the next decade – two thirds of this will be felt directly in the Northern economy, resulting in increased jobs, economic activity and tourism. Benefits of the route will also be generated in terms of productivity, increased trade and collaboration, and increased foreign direct investment. For business passengers, journey time savings will be worth an estimated £5 million every year.
During 2015 calendar year, Hainan Airlines announced new international long haul routes in addition to the Manchester-Beijing service. These comprised Chongqing to Rome, Beijing to San Jose, Shanghai to Boston, Shanghai to Seattle and Beijing to Prague and as the year was coming to a close further direct flights between Xi’an to Rome, Sydney and Tokyo were announced. Efforts are being made in China to make Xi’an a convenient exit point for outbound tourism and build an important international hub in north-western China.