Virgin Atlantic is restarting its much-anticipated flights to Shanghai, re-establishing essential business and leisure connections between the United Kingdom and China. The daily service will resume on 1 May 2023, with fares starting from £432 per person.
The move comes following a relaxation in travel restrictions between the two countries, which sees the borders reopening to foreign nationals for the first time since 23 December 2020. Shanghai is Virgin Atlantic’s final route to be re-instated following the global pandemic, having been impacted by suspensions and closures since 1 February 2020.
Following the restart announcement earlier this year, there has been strong demand for both business and leisure travel in both directions. China remains a key trading partner to the UK, and as the country’s largest city, the relaunched route will be an important connector for the UK and China. Shanghai has a world renowned commercial and financial centre with one of the world’s largest cargo hubs. Moreover, the eclectic destination offers UK tourists a melting pot of culture, from Pudong district’s futuristic skyline, the Bund’s famous waterfront walkways to the traditional pavilions in Yu Gardens.
Virgin Atlantic’s Shanghai flights will continue to operate on a Boeing 787-9. Customers can enjoy a selection of experiences across three cabins; Upper Class, Premium alongside the airline’s three classes of Economy, Delight, Classic and Light.
Shanghai is also a hub to the airline’s new SkyTeam partner, China Eastern. Offering a wide range of connections throughout China and beyond, Virgin Atlantic customers will be able to seamlessly connect to onward services. Flying Club members will soon have the opportunity to earn and redeem Virgin Points across China Eastern’s flying programme, alongside many other SkyTeam partners.
Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic, commented: “The restart of our services to Shanghai is a major milestone for Virgin Atlantic. Shanghai was the first of our routes to be suspended in 2020 at the start of the global pandemic and the last to return, making it the final piece to restore our flying programme to full capacity.
“After such a long hiatus, we’re looking forward to welcoming our customers back to Shanghai and providing vital links to one of the UK’s largest trading partners, for both passenger and cargo services.”
The return to China will complement the rest of Virgin Atlantic’s global route network which includes the USA & Caribbean, South Africa, Nigeria and India. The airline’s Tel Aviv service has doubled capacity this summer, operating a double daily service. New routes to the Maldives and Turks and Caicos will also commence later this year.
Customers travelling to China will need to show proof of a negative PCR test before they enter the country, alongside a health declaration form.
Starting from April 29, China has decided to abandon the requirement for travelers to present a negative PCR test result, in an effort to stimulate its economy. Instead, visitors will be able to show a negative rapid antigen test result.