- Hainan Airlines’ popular flights to Beijing will operate daily next summer
- The announcement means capacity on the route will almost double from the present four-times-weekly service
- Key institutions including the University of Manchester, the Northern Powerhouse Partnership and tourism bodies across the North expect the daily summer flights to provide a huge boost to the wider region
Business and tourism leaders across the North have welcomed the news that Manchester Airport will operate daily flights to Beijing next summer.
Hainan Airlines’ direct service linking Manchester and China’s capital currently runs four times weekly. From June to September 2024, passengers will be able to travel to and from Beijing on any day of the week. Passengers will be able to enjoy the comforts of the airline’s modern and spacious Airbus A330 aircraft during the 10-hour journey, which will depart at 12.15pm each day, and tickets in economy and business class for summer 2024 are now on sale.
Manchester became the first UK hub outside of London to gain a direct flight to mainland China when Hainan Airlines launched its service to Beijing in 2016. The route provides a key economic boost to the North. The airline’s partnership with Loganair means passengers from other UK regions can also benefit from these links, with tickets available from Aberdeen, Inverness, the Isle of Man and Newquay to Beijing with a simple airside transfer at Manchester.
A report issued two years later showed the flights had almost doubled the amount of money spent in the North by Chinese tourists and had increased the number of Chinese students at the region’s universities by around nine per cent, more than double the national average. Export values from Manchester Airport to China also rose 41 per cent, against the backdrop of a 30 per cent drop in the national average. The region’s tourism bodies, and academic institutions expect the commencement of daily summer flights to provide a further boost.
The expanded route will also offer better connections to people from across the North looking to visit China. Beijing is the gateway to the world’s second most populous country and boasts no fewer than seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Forbidden City and the Great Wall.
Chris Woodroofe, Managing Director of Manchester Airport
We are proud to connect the North to the world – and to connect the world to the North. From next summer, we will become the only UK airport outside London offering daily direct flights to mainland China, meaning we are able to connect the people of the region to one of the most important economies in the world, and vice versa.
“Hainan Airlines’ decision to operate a daily Beijing flight from Manchester is testament to the success of the current service. More than 350,000 passengers have used it since it was first launched seven years ago.
“We know the route is also extremely popular with Chinese visitors. We are a gateway to some of the most vibrant cities and beautiful countryside the UK has to offer, and the daily service is fantastic news for tourism, businesses, and Universities across our region – as well as for Manchester’s Chinese community.”
Peter Han, General Manager, Hainan Airlines UK
We are thrilled to be almost doubling capacity on our Manchester to Beijing service next summer with a daily flight. There is a lot of demand for travel between the North of England and China, in both directions. This expansion of our service will allow us to meet demand over the busy summer season and marks an exciting new chapter for our operation at Manchester Airport.”
Rhys Whalley, Executive Director of the Manchester China Forum
We’re delighted to see Hainan increasing connectivity with Beijing, which will provide a welcome boost to businesses, students, visitors as well as residents on both sides looking to resume normal travel post pandemic.
“The world’s second largest economy is a leading source for trade and investment into the region – total trade amounted to £108.7 billion in four quarters to the end of quarter two, 2023. Hainan Airlines’ decision to increase frequencies signals the importance of the route as well as the confidence they have in the outlook for post pandemic two-way movement.”
Henri Murison, Director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership
We know that the Asia is responsible for a sizeable proportion of the increase in foreign direct investment we’ve seen to our region in recent years and this improved connectivity to Beijing should help to accelerate that.
“Manchester Airport plays a vital role in the Northern economy as our gateway to the rest of the world.
“International connectivity is vital if the North of England is serious about developing our global reputation, supporting our universities as well as building trade and tourism links.”
Victoria Braddock, Managing Director Marketing Manchester
“China holds a pivotal role in Greater Manchester’s global market, and we are delighted that Hainan Airlines are returning to daily flights between Beijing and Manchester next summer. This enhanced connectivity will offer a significant boost to the visitor economy, as demonstrated by the region’s pre-Covid spend of £260m.
“Beyond economic advantages, this increase in flight frequency creates a multitude of opportunities for trade and tourism across the region, positively influencing sectors such as accommodation, retail, restaurants, and attractions.
“Additionally, this increased service will be crucial in supporting the city’s large Chinese student population, promoting cultural exchange, and providing greater educational opportunities. We look forward to welcoming more Chinese visitors who choose Greater Manchester as a place to visit, work, study, and invest.”
For more information on flights to Beijing, visit https://www.manchesterairport.co.uk/destinations-and-guides/beijing/.
Notes to editors:
About Manchester Airport:
Manchester Airport is a global gateway and the largest UK airport outside London, with around 200 destinations served by more than 50 airlines.
Manchester’s long-haul catchment area places around 22 million people, and 60% of all UK businesses, within a two-hour drive time; it extends north through the Lake District into Scotland, east across Yorkshire and the North East, south to Birmingham and the Midlands, and west into Merseyside and Wales.
Manchester Airport is part of MAG, the UK’s largest group of airports, also owning and operating London Stansted and East Midlands airports. Pre-pandemic the group flew more than 60 million passengers to more than 285 destinations.
More information about the benefits the area gets from direct flights to Beijing is available here