Hainan Airlines has increased the number of seats on its Manchester to Beijing route – months before it has even launched.
Starting in June, Hainan Airlines will fly four times a week from Manchester to the Chinese capital, with more seats available on every flight.
The airline will fly an Airbus 330-300, carrying a total of 292 passengers with 32 in business class and 260 in economy.
Last October, Chinese president Xi Jinping, announced the route, making Manchester the only airport outside of London with a direct scheduled service to China.
Xie Haoming, Chairman at 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.”
Stephen Turner, Commercial Director at Manchester Airport, said: “It is excellent news that Hainan Airlines is increasing the number of seats on its four flights a week to Beijing. This gives the 22m people in our catchment area more choice and availability on what we believe will be an incredibly popular route.
“Feedback from passengers tells us that people want to fly from their local airport and this new route allows them to do just that whether on business or leisure.”
The Manchester-Beijing route is worth at least £250 million in economic benefits to the UK over the next decade, with two-thirds being felt directly in the Northern economy in terms of increased jobs, economic activity and tourism. By providing a non-stop service, the new route will also generate journey time savings worth £5 million every year for business passengers and avoid the inconvenience of changing planes at another airport.
As businesses in China and the North prepare to take advantage of the improved connectivity, the Manchester-Beijing route will generate further economic benefits in terms of productivity, increased trade and collaboration, and increased foreign direct investment.
Manchester Airport with over 23m annual passengers is the UK’s third largest. Over 70 airlines fly to more than 210 destinations across the globe.