East of England-China Forum targeting direct flights

Bid for direct flights from London Stansted Airport to China to strengthen ties. Photo credit – Stansted Airport

East of England – China Forum targeting direct flights

A group of local politicians, business owners and airport representatives have formed a group in the East of England aimed at strengthening business and tourism ties between China and the UK.

The East of England-China Forum will be membership based and the main aim will be to attract airlines to use London Stansted Airport as a base for direct flights between London and China.

In 2016 the value of imports an exports between China and the East of England reached $5.79bn, a figure which is hoped with greatly increase. This would also have a positive effect on the tourism industry in the South of England.

The group are optimistic as the concept has already been a huge success in Manchester. Direct flights to Hong Kong began in 2014 and have helped in increase direct exports from the North of England to £200 million per month, an increase of 260%.

London Stansted’s CEO Ken O’Toole is also onboard saying recently:

“As China becomes an increasingly important force in twenty-first century global trade, it is of paramount importance that the east of England, plus north and east London, has in place a clear strategy that allows it to nurture long-term economic ties with the country.

“In the next few years, China is expected to overtake the USA to become the biggest aviation market in the world and together with a relaxation of visa and flight restrictions for Chinese visitors, now is the time for the region to come together to secure new direct links between our region and China.”

Rupert Reid

Pilot and Senior Broadcast Journalist at Panda Radio. You can find him on Twitter @rupertreid