Heathrow Airport has extended its Chinese route network after last night welcoming its 11th route to the country when Shenzhen Airlines’ Airbus A330-300 flew in from Shenzhen.
The thrice weekly service will transport up to 96,408 passengers a year and 3,120 tonnes of annual exports and imports to the city known as China’s tech hub.
The new route is the latest in a growing list of new Chinese routes announced by Heathrow this year. Over 2018, Heathrow has more than doubled its existing direct connections to China – growing the network from five destinations at the start of the year (Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Qingdao) to 11 with the addition of Chongqing, Wuhan, Sanya, Changsa, Xi’an and now Shenzhen.
Shenzhen Airlines is part owned by Air China and is the 4th largest Chinese carrier by passenger numbers. Its direct flight to Heathrow will become Shenzhen Airlines’ first long-haul route, and connect passengers from London, through Shenzhen City to its regional network of 210 domestic routes. Shenzhen Airlines is now the 25th Star Alliance carrier that will operate under one roof at London Heathrow Terminal 2.
Heathrow’s chief commercial officer, Ross Baker said: “This year, we have focussed on strengthening Heathrow’s role as the UK’s gateway for Chinese trade, commerce and tourism.
“While our passengers and exporters will undoubtedly be pleased with our new Shenzhen connection, along with the other routes we have announced this year, we know that in order to achieve true transformational change for our culture and economy we need the additional capacity for cargo and passengers to reach greater benefits.
“It is the creation of this extra capacity, achieved through Heathrow expansion that will allow Britain to trade on a truly global platform whilst providing Britain with a front door that is the best connected in the world.”