Air China is expanding its London network with a non-stop service from Gatwick to Beijing International Airport four times a week.
The Airbus A330-200 aircraft will depart Gatwick at 1300 on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays and arrive at Beijing airport at 0620 local time the following day, while return journeys will leave at 0135 and touch down at Gatwick at approximately 0550 the same day. Monday’s flight will start operating from the beginning of June.
Guy Stephenson, Gatwick Airport’s Chief Commercial Officer says: “We are delighted to welcome Air China and its first passengers to Gatwick today as we seek to enhance our role in becoming the gateway to Asia.
“Broadening trade links with fast-growing developing markets is a priority for the UK, but in order to achieve this, London needs to retain its status as one of the best connected cities in the world.
“Gatwick not only has the capacity to grow to serve 40 million passengers by 2020 but also has the ability to serve London just as effectively as Heathrow - and do so for less than half the cost. This in turn is helping strengthen Britain’s connectivity into the rapidly growing economies of the world, such as China. Air China’s decision to expand this route from Gatwick sends a strong message that Gatwick is competing.”
Mr Wu Xiao Ming, General Manager UK & Ireland for Air China said: “This is a true milestone for Air China and an ideal opportunity for the company to respond to the ever increasing demand to China and beyond”
Malcolm Day, Sales & Marketing Manager UK & Ireland for Air China said: “Adding Gatwick to our UK network now gives passengers a real choice of departure points within the South-East. Gatwick is well placed for our passengers to connect to Central London as well as the City with an efficient and seamless train service.”
Gatwick has been competing vigorously since the change in ownership in December 2009. In addition to Beijing, Gatwick has attracted new routes to South Korea, Turkey, Vietnam and Hong Kong. Over the past two-and-a-half years, Gatwick has been transforming the airport through a £1.2 billion investment programme to compete for airlines and grow passenger numbers. The delivery of speedier check-in and security processes for passengers and the direct transport links into central London are just a few of the reasons why airlines are choosing to operate from Gatwick.