China, UK to double flights between countries

Publish Time:2016-10-14 18:48:38Source:Global Times

【Introduction】:The skies between China and the UK are expected to get more crowded as the two central governments recently vowed to double flights between the two countries.

The skies between China and the UK are expected to get more crowded as the two central governments recently vowed to double flights between the two countries.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China said Tuesday on its website that the two parties agreed to increase passenger flights per week from 40 to 100, without limit on cargo flights. The Financial Times reported that restrictions are to be lifted on airlines' Chinese destinations.

So far, the weekly flights are 36 from China to UK, and 29 from UK to China. There are seven carriers in China, including Air China, China Southern and China Eastern flying the routes to the UK, covering six Chinese cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Tianjin and Chongqing. Most are in the first-tier cities.

In June, Hainan Airlines ran the maiden flight of its route from Beijing to Manchester, the first direct route between the two cities.

The UK government said the move would boost tourism and trade opportunities for the UK, and create vital links for a post-Brexit Britain.

In August, British Airways, the UK's biggest long-haul airline by passenger numbers, said that it established a code-sharing cooperation with China Eastern. Under it, China Eastern passengers can buy tickets through British Airways for onward connections to seven cities in the UK, and British Airways passengers heading to China can connect to Kunming, Xi'an, Nanjing, Hangzhou and Chongqing.

Song Guoyou, a professor at Fudan University's Center for American Studies, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the agreement shows the UK's determination after Brexit to have closer relations with China and try to deepen the Sino-British economic and trade relations.

The increased flights between the two countries could bring an overall rise in travelers between the two nations, leading to more Chinese investment in the UK, which will benefit the trade, travel and aviation industries for the UK, Song said.

China is the UK's sixth largest export market, and the third largest partner for imports. Bilateral trade between UK and China stood at $36.63 billion in the first six months of this year, including $27.25 billion imported from China, data provided by the Ministry of Commerce showed.

Almost 270,000 people visited the UK from China in 2015, a 46 percent increase from the previous year, leading to an 18 percent increase in spending to 586 million pounds ($712 million) and moving China into the UK's top 10 most valuable inbound markets, WSJ reported.

However, it is worth mentioning that the future growth of the number of Chinese in the UK is still closely related to the changes in the visa system, as in January a new two-year visa system for Chinese nationals visiting the UK started.

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