UK, China lift restrictions on cargo flights
The United Kingdom and China have agreed to amend or lift restrictions on international flights between the two nations, according to a statement from the UK’s Department for Transport.
Under the new agreement, the United Kingdom and China will more than double the number of passenger flights allowed between the two nations – from 40 currently to 100 – and allow for unlimited all-cargo flights.
In addition, the two countries eliminated a restriction on the number of destinations individual airlines can serve, meaning services can be operated between any origin and destination point, as opposed to only six destinations in each country at present.
The deal aims to increase opportunities for trade and tourism in the UK, which is still in the process of digesting the consequences of it’s planned exit from the European Union, commonly known as Brexit.
According to the UK Department for Transport, visits from China in 2015 were up 46 percent from 2014. At the same time, Chinese spending in the UK grew 18 percent year-over-year to 586 million British pounds (U.S. £715.9 million), making China one of the country’s top 10 most valuable inbound markets.
The department noted, however, that whether or not airlines will actually increase flights between the UK and China remains to be seen and is a “commercial” decision to be made by the airlines.
“This deal is a big moment for the UK. Strong connections with emerging markets like China are vital for us if we are to continue competing on the global economic stage,” said Transport Secretary Chris Grayling. “Hundreds of thousands of Chinese people visit the UK every year, spending hundreds of millions of pounds.
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.”
“These new arrangements will further strengthen British-Sino relations,” added UK Aviation Minister Lord Ahmad. “Post Brexit, improving trade links with key markets such as China will boost exports and tourism, as well as helping create jobs and strengthening our local economies.
This deal demonstrates that the UK is very much open for business.”