Yorkshire Times
Voice of the North
8:02 AM 22nd November 2019

Northern Boost - Airport Announces Only Shanghai Link Outside London

Manchester Airport has announced a landmark deal to connect the North with Shanghai, China’s biggest city and one of the world’s most important economic powerhouses.

Chinese carrier Juneyao Air has chosen the Northern hub for its first ever UK service starting next March. It will operate three-times-a-week using the state-of-the-art Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

The news has been hailed as “a key step towards making the North one of the world’s most globally competitive regions” and is tipped to unlock hundreds of millions of pounds-worth of trade, investment and tourism benefits.

It 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.

And business, university and cultural leaders say the link will stimulate further valuable connections between the Far East and all parts of the North.

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 tourism, as well giving Britain an opportunity to boost its trade and investment links to China.”

This new long-haul route is just one of several the Northern hub has confirmed in recent years and is a shot in the arm for the entire region. Following the launch of the airport’s Beijing service three years ago, the region has seen masses of benefits such as a 38% increase in the number of Chinese visitors, average spend per visit increasing by 94% (5% ahead of the national average) and export values growing by 41%. It is predicted this route will create similar opportunities, which is why a host of businesses and organisations from York to Liverpool and beyond have championed the route.

Martin Hathaway, Managing Director of the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Having increased connections to China is great news for businesses across Yorkshire so I’m delighted to hear Manchester Airport will soon be launching flights to Shanghai. Businesses throughout Halifax, Huddersfield and Wakefield will benefit from faster and more direct connectivity to Shanghai, and the potential impact this will have on exports, tourism, students and jobs is substantial.”

The move was also welcomed by Visit York’s Marketing Manager, Michelle Brown. She said: “In York over the past 3 years since the Beijing route launched, we’ve seen a massive impact on our inbound Chinese visitor figures, ranking now as the 2nd highest overseas market to York after the US. This is great news in terms of access to Nanjing, our sister city, which is just a short train ride away from Shanghai.”

Juneyao Air is one of the leading private-owned carriers in mainland China. Founded in September 2006, the carrier now owns 72 aircraft, consisting of Airbus A320s and Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

The airline operates more than 160 routes linking major cities in China as well as international destinations. In 2018 Juneyao Air carried over 18 million passengers.

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