Flights between China and the UK look set to soar over the coming years. The UK has been growing in popularity among Chinese travellers recently, and thanks to an agreement signed between the two countries last December, the number of weekly flights permitted between the two countries was given a 50 per cent boost.
Now with a potential 150 flights per week, there is huge potential for airlines to build new connections between the Chinese mainland and the UK. For the time being, however, the UK’s own airlines are being cautious when it comes to launching new routes into China.
Back in 2016, British Airways was forced to cut its London-Chengdu service owing to the route becoming financially unviable, and since then CEO Alex Cruz has stated the airline’s focus for the China market will be, for the time being, via partners rather than with its own metal.
Virgin Atlantic, meanwhile, currently flies to just one destination on the Chinese mainland, Beijing, and so far there haven’t been many indications the carrier plans to expand this in the foreseeable future.
This leaves the market wide open for China’s own airlines, which have been more than ready to capitalise on the growing traffic between the two countries, particularly to the UK capital. These carriers are also able to leverage their own domestic networks in order to keep up capacity on these long-haul routes, thereby providing connections between London and a medley of lesser-known Chinese cities.
So, precisely which Chinese airlines are launching new services to London, and what are they offering on these routes?