By Will Lee
Hainan Airlines Resumes Flights to Manchester, U.K.
The U.K ‘s Manchester Airport has expanded its route map to mainland China again, after a two-year hiatus. The Chinese government has approved an agreement with the U.K. government to renew flights between Manchester, U.K. and China. As a result, Hainan Airlines will resume its Beijing to Manchester, U.K., operating a weekly service between the two cities.
According to the airline, the Manchester-bound flight will depart Beijing at 5:50 Monday morning, arriving in Manchester at 10 a.m. The return leg will depart Manchester at 3 p.m. on Monday, arriving in China at 8:20 a.m. The schedule is expected to change in October.
Hainan’s Beijing to Manchester, U.K. flight comes after the resumption of Air China’s flight from Beijing to London’s Heathrow Airport, China Eastern Airlines’ flight from Shanghai to London and China Southern Airlines’ flight from Guangzhou to London.
Manchester Airport welcomes the return of Hainan Airlines at the peak season of student travel.
“It is extremely positive to see critical routes like this return to our departure boards and we look forward to working closely with Hainan Airlines to build on the previous success of this route.” Chris Woodroofe, Managing Director of Manchester Airport, said.
Hainan Airlines will useAirbus A330s with two classes for the resumed route. The route was launched in 2016.
Before the pandemic, it recorded 100,000 passengers traveling annually. The flight has been suspended due to concerns about the variant of Covid-19. Earlier, the U.K. government announced flight resumptions between the two countries.
“This will end the ban on direct passenger services imposed by Chinese authorities during the Covid-19 pandemic. Transit for travelers will continue to be permitted in third countries.” U.K Department for Transport said on social media. The agreement could be reached under the auspices of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).
In the early stage of resumption, only Chinese carriers can provide flight operations between two countries.
“Work is ongoing to resume routes for British airlines.” The UK government added.
The announcement hasn’t provided any time frame for the British carriers. Before the pandemic, British Airways provided flight operations to China, such as Beijing and Shanghai.
However, the pandemic is far from over. As a result of the strict travel restrictions in China, the flight will fly to Dalian instead of Beijing.
“At the beginning of the resumption of the flight, it will travel via Dalian first. After completing the seven days quarantine, passengers will be able to fly to other destinations within China according to preferences.” Tao Zhu, the CEO of Hainan Airlines said.
Manchester is Hainan’s fifth European destination from Beijing in the post-pandemic era. The airline currently operates flights from Beijing to Belgrade, Serbia; Moscow, Berlin and Brussels.