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Gatwick to Guangzhou: UK airport adds new China flights

BY :广州外事

UPDATED :2024-06-28

China Southern is one of the airlines offering new flights between China and the UK. 

Travel between the UK and China is taking off — literally. The UK's second busiest airport, London Gatwick, has added new routes to China as it looks to strengthen connections with Asia.

China Southern will offer a Gatwick-Guangzhou flight three times a week. It's the airline's second route from Gatwick, adding to a twice-weekly service to Zhengzhou that started last December.

Airline executives are hoping flights like these will help connect China with the UK, and beyond. 

"There is a growing economic and cultural exchange between China and the UK, and there is a growing number of passengers traveling between the countries," says Ke Chen, general manager of China Southern's London office. "We decided to open this new flight to meet that demand."

Chen says the new route could also give travelers more options when they're flying to the Asia Pacific region.

"Passengers from the UK can take this flight and transfer to Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, even Japan and South Korea. It can fully meet the demand of passengers in both China and the UK."

China Southern is not the only airline adding new routes at London Gatwick. The airport now operates 33 weekly flights to China, with flag carrier Air China adding a daily flight to Beijing Capital Airport in early June. China Eastern also runs a service to Shanghai, one of the country's economic hubs. 

And speaking of the economy, China is now the UK's fifth-largest trading partner. The UK imported close to US$ 75 billion in goods and services from China in 2023, while exports were worth nearly US$ 40 billion. More flights could improve trade links, and that could mean more business for both countries. 

London Gatwick has applied to build a second runway in a bid to grow its passenger numbers. 

Gatwick is hoping the extra flights will make it the top choice for visitors from Asia. But it's not stopping there. It's submitted plans to build a second runway — a project that could double passenger numbers to around 75 million a year. 

"It's an airport with extensive connectivity across Europe, particularly to markets such as Italy and France, which are highly popular among Chinese tourists," says David Bell, Senior Airline Business Development Manager at London Gatwick.

"We have the connectivity to those markets and the passengers can enjoy what London and South East England have to offer — plus all the highlights of a trip to Europe."

Editor: Joyce