China Eastern has launched its inaugural flight from London Gatwick to Shanghai today.
The flight will run from Gatwick three times a week on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. The return flights from Shanghai will run on the same days but will fly through the night.
Stewart Wingate, chief executive of Gatwick Airport said: “I’m delighted to welcome China Eastern to Gatwick and look forward to the start of this vital new link to Shanghai.
“Connections to China and other non-European countries will take on extra significance in a post-Brexit Britain as we become more reliant on them to generate vital growth through trade and by exploiting the other business opportunities that they provide.”
It will run in conjunction with China Eastern’s Heathrow-Shanghai service which runs daily.
The new connection between China Eastern and Gatwick was announced back in August when Gatwick saw a 54.3% increase in Chinese passengers in comparison to the previous year.
Flights from Gatwick to Asia, in general, has also increased by over 100% which some are saying is due to the push by Asian airlines to expand into the UK.
China Southern announced flights between London and Wuhan with another service between London and Sanya, on the island of Hainan, announced shortly after.
Speaking of this service, Andrew Ould, British Deputy Consul-General in Guangzhou, said: “I believe that the launch of the direct flight between Sanya and London will help attract more visitors from the UK to spend their holidays in Sanya and UK-based companies to invest and establish facilities in the city.”
Shenzhen Airlines has also launched a new service between Shenzhen Bao’an Airport to London Heathrow which took off in October this year.
It operates on a similar timetable to the newly announced China Eastern service.