It is a very happy Chinese New Year for the UK’s third largest airport, as Hainan Airlines has increased capacity on its Manchester-Beijing route, before it has even launched.
Starting on June 10th 2016, Hainan Airlines will fly four times a week to the Chinese capital and has announced this week it will increase capacity on the aircraft, going from an Airbus 330-200, to an Airbus 330-300.
The larger aircraft holds a total of 292 passengers, with 32 in business class and 260 in economy.
Announced in October by China president Xi Jinping, the route will make Manchester the only airport outside of London with a direct scheduled service to China.
Xie Haoming, chairman at Hainan Airlines, said: “We are delighted to be able to increase the capacity on our flights to and from Manchester.
“It highlights just how committed Hainan Airlines is on making this route a success.
“After what has been an incredibly positive Chinese New Year, we are now all focussed on the route commencing in June.
“We look forward to welcoming passengers from the North and I am sure our Chinese passengers cannot wait to come and visit Manchester and the wider region.”
The Manchester-Beijing route is worth at least £250 million in economic benefits to the UK over the next decade, with two-thirds being felt directly in the Northern economy in terms of increased jobs, economic activity and tourism.
By providing a non-stop service, the new route will also generate journey time savings worth £5 million every year for business passengers and avoid the inconvenience of changing planes at another airport.