London Gatwick is today unveiled as the European airport with the fastest growing number of passenger seats to Shanghai, China. This exciting new growth is thanks to a brand-new Air China service which flies directly to the city. Starting on Saturday 2 November, it will fly four times weekly from Gatwick.
In addition, China Eastern Airlines is increasing its direct flights from Gatwick to Shanghai, from three times weekly to daily services this winter.
This winter season Gatwick will be offering more passenger seats to Shanghai than ever before, as the airport plays its part in serving the sky-rocketing demand for Chinese passengers wishing to travel to the UK – with visitors to Britain from China up 32% in 2017 from the prior year. 1
Gatwick’s news follows the Department for Transport’s expectation that China is set to be the world’s largest aviation market by as early as 2022. 2
The total expenditure by Chinese tourists in the UK has been calculated to be £759 million, up 35% on the prior year. 3 China is the UK’s sixth largest UK export market with £23.1 billion of goods exported to China annually. Similarly, China is the UK’s fourth largest source of imports accounting for £45.4 billion of goods imported into the UK. 4
This Shanghai seat increase joins Gatwick’s already flourishing connections to Asia with Cathay Pacific flying to Hong Kong and China Airlines to Taipei.
Gatwick Airport, Head of Airline Relations, Stephen King said:
“Chinese airlines and passengers are really responding to Gatwick’s offer and we are proud of the resulting role we are playing for UK plc.
“We’re delighted that more Chinese passengers are having the opportunity to experience the UK plus specifically the proposition at Gatwick. With Visit Britain highlighting that trips abroad by Chinese passengers have doubled over the last six years we’re keen to play our part in making the UK the first-choice destination for these visitors.
1Aviation 2050: The Future of Aviation – Department of Transport
2Aviation 2050: The Future of Aviation – Department of Transport
3Office for National Statistics: Overseas visits to the UK (2017)
4House of Commons Briefing Paper, Statistics on UK trade with China, Number 7379, 26 September 2019
“As we welcome more Chinese passengers to the airport, we have undertaken a number of developments within our terminals to further enhance their experience including refreshed signage and World Duty Free welcoming, mobile payment method, Alipay. We’re currently looking ahead to celebrating Chinese New Year just a few months away and have lots of plans instore.”