British Airways said today (July 6) that it welcomed the opportunity to start flights to Shanghai, following an announcement in China, that the British and Chinese governments had reached an agreement on direct air services between the two countries.
“We are absolutely delighted with the news and look forward to opening up the route as soon as possible,” said John Wood, Director Asia Pacific.
“Shanghai is a city with enormous business and tourism potential, and we have been wanting to fly to there for over 10 years. We have been firmly committed to serving China since our first flight to Beijing, via Hong Kong, in 1980.
“We have always said that the two important financial centres of London and Shanghai deserve to be connected by direct flights by a global carrier with a world-wide network.
“Using the latest Boeing 747-400 we will provide a three-class service for passengers, and the cargo capability of this aircraft will increase the opportunity for trade between Britain and China.”
British Airways currently operates 18 flights a week to China - two direct flights a day to Hong Kong and four direct flights a week to Beijing.
The airline offers a product and service specifically tailored for the Chinese market, including Chinese cabin crew; Chinese subtitled films, Chinese cuisine and a dedicated Chinese Visitors Service at Heathrow, used by more than 4,000 Chinese passengers a month.
Set up five years ago, the Chinese staff meet Chinese families, business and leisure travellers and help them through immigration and check-in, and arrange ground transport and hotel bookings if necessary.
Based in Heathrow’s Terminal 4, the 11 Chinese staff speak Cantonese, Mandarin, Shanghainese and Hokkien.
“We are committed to continuing to invest and develop international services to China which we believe will help bring trade and investment opportunities from companies world-wide,” Mr Wood said.