UK, China Give Clearance for More Passenger, Cargo Flights
By Nicholas Winning Oct.
11, 2016 2:00 p.m. ET
LONDON–The U.K. and China have agreed to increase the maximum number of passenger flights between the two countries to 100 a week for each nation from 40 and to remove any limit on cargo flights, moves to help boost trade and tourism following the vote to leave the European Union, the U.K. government said Tuesday. The two countries also agreed to lift restrictions to allow passenger services to be operated from any point in the two countries, the British Department of Transport said in a statement.
Before the agreement there was a limit of cargo flights of 10 each way a week and airlines could only serve six destinations in each country. The British government has been eager to show that the U.K. is open for business after Britons voted in a national referendum in June to exit the EU, a move many warned before the vote could hurt the U.K.’s economy and global standing.
“Raising the number of permitted flights between the two countries will provide massive opportunities for our businesses, helping increase trade, create jobs and boost our economy up and down the country,” Chris Grayling, the U.K.’s transport minister, said in the statement where he described the agreement as a “big moment for the U.K.”
Almost 270,000 people visited the U.K. from China in 2015, a 46% increase on the previous year, leading to an 18% increase in spending to ?586 million (£712 million) and moving China into the U.K.’s top 10 most valuable inbound markets, the government said. China now operates 38 passenger flights a week to the U.K., while the U.K. flies 29 to China, the U.K. government said.
Any decision on additional flights is for the airlines, the government said.
Earlier this year Hainan Airlines 600221 -1.52 %  began operating flights from Manchester in northern England to Beijing, the first direct route between the U.K. and China from an airport outside of London that was expected to bring an estimated ?250 million in economic benefits to the U.K. over the next decade, the government said.
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