Gatwick is launching the UK’s first ever direct flights to Chongqing – one of the world’s largest urban centres and a major manufacturing and transportation hub in southwest China.
The twice weekly, year round, flights will then continue to China’s fourth largest city, Tianjin, Gatwick announced today.
Starting from June 25th, Chinese carrier Tianjin Airlines will fly the Airbus A330 on the new Gatwick-Chongqing-Tianjin route – the airline’s first long haul flights outside Asia and one that complements its existing network serving over a 100 cities across China.
Both cities are currently not flown to from the UK.
Tianjin Airlines flies over ten million passengers each year and the new Gatwick route will depart from the airport every Wednesday and Saturday evening at 22:25.
Chongqing has invested heavily in infrastructure and is very well connected to the rest of China with, for example, the nearby Three Gorges Dam - the world’s largest - allowing oceangoing ships to reach Chongqing’s Yangtze River port.
These infrastructure improvements have led to the arrival of numerous foreign direct investors in industries including car manufacture, finance and retailing.
Tianjin is located in northeast China and is the major gateway port serving the capital Beijing.
It is also home to a Special Economic Zone – where key experimental economic reforms are taking place - and has become a hub of advanced industry and financial activity with around 285 Fortune 500 companies now located there.
Guy Stephenson, Gatwick chief commercial officer, said: “By flying into two of China’s most important economic centres, Gatwick is providing vital direct connections for UK business people into some of the most exciting growth markets on the planet.
“Tourists from both the UK and China will also benefit, as will non-exporting businesses located in the UK as Chinese visitors are some of the highest spenders.
“The number of tourists from China also grew almost 40 per cent last year alone and these numbers are only going to rise.
“The two new Chinese destinations compliment Gatwick’s growing long haul network which now boasts over 50 destinations on four continents.”