Beijing Capital Airport
- IATA / ICAO Code:
- XIY / ZLXY
- Zhang Wenge
- Passenger Count:
- 34,513,827 (2020)
- 05L / 23R – 3,000m (9,843ft) | 05R / 23L – 3,800m (12,467ft)
- Terminal 1 | Terminal 2 | Terminal 3
Manchester Airport announced that Hainan Airlines is restoring its Beijing-Manchester services on Monday after a two-and-a-half-year long hiatus.
International flights to the Chinese mainland have largely been restricted since 2020, following the country’s implementation of harsh measures to control the spread of Coronavirus.
The surprisingly lucrative frequency is the first to be resumed by Hainan Airlines, which initially launched services to Manchester Airport in 2016, offering an alternative route to mainland China outside of London. In 2019, around 100,000 people traveled between the two cities, with the service mainly targeting international students attending the 40 universities falling under the airport’s catchment area.
Following a recent agreement between the Chinese and UK governments, flights have resumed ahead of the new academic year, with Hainan offering a once-weekly service on Mondays, arriving at 10:00 and departing at 15:00.
Despite the relaxation in restrictions, outbound services from Manchester will initially stop in Dalian, with passengers required to quarantine for seven days before continuing to Beijing Capital Airport.
Hainan will be utilizing its long-haul Airbus A330 jets for the route, capable of carrying 292 passengers across two classes. The airline will offer 32 business class seats in its typical 1-2-1 configuration and 260 economy class seats across a 2-4-2 layout.
Resumption of services
“Today’s announcement is clear evidence of the vital economic role that Manchester airport plays, both in the north and the UK as a whole, as we emerge from the pandemic,” noted Manchester Airport Managing Director Chris Woodroofe.
“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.”
Flag carrier Air China was the first airline to resume its UK-based services, relaunching flights between Beijing and Heathrow on August 11. Photo: Getty Images
Economic impact studies have shown the launch of the route led to a 38% increase in Chinese travelers to the north of the United Kingdom, with the average spend per visit almost doubling and export values increasing by 41%, as reported by TravelWeekly.
“We want to deliver a world-class welcome for returning Chinese visitors and the resumption of services making it easier for them to get here is a crucial part of our competitive tourism offer and recovery post-Covid,” added VisitEngland chief executive Patricia Yates.
“In 2019, China was the UK’s second most valuable inbound market, worth £ 1.7 billion and Hainan’s direct route to Manchester will not only act as a gateway to the greater north-west but also make it easier for visitors to come and explore regional Britain spreading the economic benefits of tourism growth across the UK. “
Hainan is the fifth Chinese airline behind Air China, China Eastern, China Southern, and Capital Airlines to resume services to the UK. On August 11, flag carrier Air China reconnected both countries’ capitals with its weekly Beijing to London Heathrow service, closely followed by a second weekly route from Shanghai Pudong on August 13.
According to a statement from the British Embassy in Beijing, Chinese carriers will initially provide direct flights while British Airways works to relaunch services in the country.