Britain open for business as UK and China further relax limits on flights
A landmark agreement for a 50% boost in the number of flights allowed between the UK and China has been announced by UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling. This builds on successful discussions in October 2016, when passenger flight limits were raised from 40 per week to a maximum of 100. Under the terms of the new deal, this figure is set to increase to 150, allowing for a huge expansion in routes from regional airports and a potential boost to local economies of hundreds of millions of pounds.
Between January and June 2017, the number of Chinese tourists visiting the UK rose by 47% compared with the same period last year. Spending also increased to £231 million, up 54%. Chinese tourists are some of the UK’s highest spenders, staying longer and travelling more than visitors from other countries.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:
“These agreements are an important part of preparing Britain for a post-Brexit world and making sure we have access to key markets in the Far East, and they come at a time when our exports are growing and we continue to attract international investment. It just underlines that Britain will do well regardless of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.”
In 2016, restrictions were relaxed on cargo flights, allowing an unlimited number to operate between the UK and China. By the end of the year, more than 74,000 tonnes of freight had been transported between the two countries by air, an increase of 27% compared to 2015.
Paul Britton, Chief Executive of Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce commented:
“This further increase in the number of passenger flights to and from China is great news for businesses based in the Thames Valley. It is a huge opportunity to boost trade and tourism as well as to build on the relationship many UK based businesses already have with China.”
Dr. Kegang Wu, Managing Director of BCC LinkToChina and Chief Representative of the Guangdong Economic and Trade Office in the UK, is delighted with this news of the air link agreement:
“As China continues at pace for globalisation, more and more investors and traders are looking toward doing business with the UK. Chinese investment in the UK amounted to 44 percent of the value of the deals between 2012 and 2016. Meanwhile Chinese affluent middle class tourists are set to use the UK as a major holiday destination. Guangdong is the most populous province of China with 110 million people, which is the lead source of Chinese business and tourist visitors to the UK.
This agreement will strengthen the trade, education and tourist links between the UK and many of the Chinese regions, not least the 21 prefecture cities in Guangdong, which are undergoing an ambitious airport expansion of international programmes in addition to the three international airports of Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Jieyang”.
Dr Wu is also the China Specialist for the Chamber’s Global Membership Programme.
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