The new route will be a boost for the 180,000 people and businesses within Manchester Airport’s catchment area who already travel to Shanghai
Northern leaders have welcomed a landmark deal which will see a new route to Shanghai, China’s biggest city, from Manchester Airport.
Juneyao Air, the Chinese carrier, has chosen the airport for its first ever UK service.
The three-times-a-week route will start in March 2020 using the state-of-the-art Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner.
Manchester Airport CEO Andrew Cowan said: “This news underlines the critical role Manchester Airport plays in connecting people and businesses across the North to the world’s most important markets.
“We have seen first-hand how new routes to high-growth economies can unlock significant trade, cultural and knowledge exchange opportunities and this will be no different.
“We are delighted that Juneyao Air has recognised everything the North has to offer, in terms of its business base, natural and cultural assets and world-leading universities when choosing to launch this new service.
“I would like to thank all those who have worked hard to strengthen our region’s ties with China, especially the Manchester China Forum, in recent years.”
The new route will be a boost for the 180,000 people and businesses within Manchester Airport’s catchment area who already travel to Shanghai, ranked as one of the top five Global Financial Centres, each year.
Currently 40,000 passengers fly to Shanghai from Yorkshire, 35,653 from West Midlands, 22,000 from Greater Manchester, 14,712 from Merseyside and Leicestershire 19,029 and more than 27,000 from East Midlands.
And business, university and cultural leaders say the link will stimulate further valuable connections between the Far East and all parts of the North.
Originally a fishing village and market town, Shanghai has grown to be one of the world’s key economic powerhouses, with a population of nearly 25m.
It is home to the worlds’ busiest container port and seen as a leading hub for finance, innovation and transportation, providing wide-ranging collaboration opportunities for the North.
Juneyao’s services will operate initially via Helsinki, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
It will arrive into Manchester at 08.30 and depart for Shanghai at 10:00. Juneyao will operate a Dreamliner, with business and economy cabins, on the route.
Wang Junjin, Juneyao Air Chariman, said: “Juneyao Air is delighted to launch its first fifth-freedom route to Manchester, and we look forward to developing Manchester’s traffic growth in the coming years.
“This route will further promote Greater Manchester’s tourism, as well giving Britain an opportunity to boost its trade and investment links to China.”
The latest announcement adds to the number of routes to China from Manchester.
Hong Kong has been operated by Cathay Pacific for four years and Beijing with Hainan Airlines for two and a half years.
Both routes make Manchester the only English airport outside of London to offer direct services to these destinations.
Following the launch of the airport’s Beijing service three years ago, the region has a 38 per cent increase in the number of Chinese visitors, average spend per visit increasing by 94 per cent (5 per cent ahead of the national average) and export values growing by 41 per cent.
It is predicted this route will create similar opportunities and has been supported by business leaders across the North.
Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said: “Forging closer links between China and the Northern Powerhouse is crucial to increasing the contribution the North makes to the UK economy and reinforces the role of Manchester Airport as the global, long-haul gateway to the North – a Heathrow for the North bringing investment, growth and skilled jobs to the region.
“This new route to Shanghai and others including to the US and Bangladesh, is not simply about connecting the people of the North West to the world. It is a chance for all of the Northern Powerhouse’s 15 million people to create new opportunities for them and their families.”
Rhys Whalley, executive director, Manchester China Forum said: “Juneyao’s new route to Shanghai is another significant development in Manchester’s relationship with China and is another important step forward in making the North one of the world’s most globally competitive regions to do business in.
“We know the positive impact that connectivity can have on the prosperity of Greater Manchester, and so a route to Shanghai, a key global financial and trading hub, will no doubt deliver a significant long-term boost to our ambitions in further enhancing links to the world’s major growth economy.”
The route has also been welcomed by key dignitaries in both the UK and China.
Zheng Xiyuan, Consul General for China in Manchester said: “Manchester and China have a long history of partnership and collaboration, and I am pleased that Shanghai will now become a major part of its future.”
Chris Wood, Consul General of the UK in Shanghai said: “By connecting these two dynamic cities, we are strengthening existing relationships and further developing Shanghai’s ties to the North of England.”
Source: Business Live