3 SEPTEMBER 2018
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The first direct flight linking the Chinese “megacity” and major business destination Chongqing with Heathrow arrived last week. The Tianjin Airlines service is Heathrow’s tenth direct Chinese connection and has capacity for 81,000 passengers a year and 3,744 tonnes of cargo.
Chongqing is part of China’s “West Triangle economic zone”, which includes Chengdu and Xi’an and contributes nearly 40% of western China’s GDP. Chongqing’s economic growth regularly tops that of other Chinese cities.
Tianjin Airlines is operating an Airbus A330-200 on the route, with services departing from Heathrow on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Heathrow says services to China via the airport last year contributed £510m to the UK economy, and supported up to 15,000 jobs, with 2.8m passengers, an increase of nearly 2% from 2016, and 137,000 tonnes of cargo, an increase of more than 10%.
However, it added, rival EU hub airports with spare capacity are able to connect directly to eight other Chinese destinations, facilitating more trade and investment to their home countries.
“Heathrow has been able to accommodate five new Chinese destinations this year but this is a limited and piecemeal approach,” the airport added.
“Expansion of Heathrow, the UK’s only hub airport and biggest port by value, will allow Britain the opportunity to build the vitally-important connections to China the country needs.”
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