- Posted by Christopher Ledsham
- On 27th May 2016
- Birmingham, direct flights, flight connections, United Kingdom
Twice-weekly summer charter flights between Birmingham and Beijing and Hangzhou-Shanghai airports, that had been due to begin on July 19th, have been cancelled by tour operator Caissa Touristic “for unknown reasons”.
The planned Airbus A330-200 service was due to be operated by Caissa-owned Beijing Capital Airlines and would have seen two direct connections per week operating between Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Airport Mainland China.
The flights would have followed similar successful charter services operated during the summers of 2014 and 2015, which had carried 7,000 passengers to Birmingham over the two year period.
Birmingham Airport chief executive Paul Kehoe maintained, however, that: “There is strong demand for flights between China and the Midlands.” He remained confident that direct flights between Birmingham and China would be reintroduced in the future, citing the fact that a total of 150,000 people flew between the British Midlands region and China in 2015.
In spite of the cancellation of the direct Birmingham flights, the UK will see the introduction of a year-round Hainan Airlines connection between Manchester and Hainan on June 10th, as well as a twice-weekly charter London Gatwick-Chongqing-Tianjin service operated by Tianjin Airlines on June 25th.
In order to boost numbers of Chinese visitors to the UK, the British government introduced a two-year renewable visa scheme for Chinese nationals in January 2016. This followed the launch of a streamlined visa application process in 2015, operated in collaboration with the Belgian government, that allowed Chinese nationals to apply for British and Schengen visas simultaneously. Previously, Chinese nationals had been forced to organise UK and Schengen visas separately, a situation which saw many tourists not visit Britain when travelling in Europe.
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