Beijing Capital Airlines hopes to get permission for direct flights between Birmingham and Hangzhou
Beijing Capital Airlines has requested rights to introduce weekly services at Birmingham from Beijing, and also the first direct link to the UK from the Hangzhou, the capital and largest city of Zhejiang Province in Eastern China. The airline wants this from 2016, according to the CAAC. The airline entered the long-haul market in September this year having introduced a first Airbus A330 into its fleet. The aircraft, a former Garuda Indonesia A330-200, has been used on weekly flights from Beijing and Hangzhou to Copenhagen. Its debut in the UK would see it replicate this Copenhagen operation at Birmingham with weekly flights from both Beijing and Hangzhou from April 2016. The Beijing route has been served in the past two summer schedules by China Southern Airlines and Hainan Airlines, but Hangzhou will be a new market not just for Birmingham, but the UK. KLM currently is the only airline with a direct link from Europe, at Schiphol, to Hangzhou. Beijing Capital Airlines has only held informal discussions with Birmingham airport’s management and no agreement has yet been reached should it get the green light from Chinese authorities. More should be know later this month. If Birmingham gets China flights, that is one less reason why a south east runway is needed for “vital business connectivity” to China.
Beijing Capital Airlines seeks rights to serve Birmingham
2 November 2015
By Richard Maslen (Routes online)
Beijing Capital Airlines seeks rights to serve Birmingham
Beijing Capital Airlines is seeking to further grow its long-haul network with flights to the UK city of Birmingham in 2016, according to information released by aviation regulator, Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). The airline, part of the HNA Group, has requested rights to introduce weekly services from Beijing and the first direct link to the UK from the Hangzhou, the capital and largest city of Zhejiang Province in Eastern China.
The airline entered the long-haul market in September this year having introduced a first Airbus A330 into its fleet. The aircraft, a former Garuda Indonesia A330-200, has been used on weekly flights from Beijing and Hangzhou to the Danish capital, Copenhagen in partnership with Chinese tour operator and fellow HNA Group company, Caissa during September and October.
Its debut in the UK will see it replicate this Copenhagen operation at Birmingham with weekly flights from both Beijing and Hangzhou from April 2016. The Beijing route has been served in the past two summer schedules by China Southern Airlines and Hainan Airlines, but Hangzhou will be a new market not just for Birmingham, but the UK. In fact alongside the airline’s flight to Copenhagen, KLM is the only other carrier to link the city to Europe, via its Amsterdam Schiphol hub.
Although Beijing Capital Airlines has made an official application to the CAAC to serve Birmingham, it is understood to have only held informal discussions with the airport’s management and no agreement has yet been reached should it get the green light from Chinese authorities to serve the market. CAAC is seeking formal replies to the request before ruling on the application after November 10, 2015.
In an interview with the Chinese media following the arrival of the A330 in China in July this year, Xu Xin, chief executive officer, Beijing Capital Airlines said that over the next five years the carrier intends to purchase at least 30 widebody aircraft to open more international routes between Chinese cities and major overseas tourist destinations.
“My company focuses on tourism market so we must open more overseas routes, which requires us to maintain a fleet of large jetliners,” he said.
Alongside the flights to Copenhagen, Beijing Capital Airlines has also applied to the CAAC to serve the Finnish capital Helsinki from Beijing, again through a partnership with Caissa. . It is also seeking permission to begin flights between Hangzhou and Madrid from December 2015 and Qingdao and Melbourne in July 2016.
Although these flights will initially operate as charter packages it is understood to be Beijing Capital Airlines goal to develop them into scheduled operations in the future. It is now the seventh mainland Chinese carrier to introduce long-haul flights after Air China, China Eastern, China Southern, Hainan Airlines, Sichuan Airlines and Xiamen Airlines.
New flights to connect Coventry and Warwickshire with two Chinese cities
4.11.2015 (Coventry Telegraph)
Birmingham Airport lined up for new flights to Beijing and Hangzhou
Coventry and Warwickshire could soon be connected to China with weekly flights from Birmingham Airport.
It is understood Beijing Capital Airlines is planning two weekly flights to China from next year.
That will make the Midlands the first region outside of London to offer scheduled flights to China – a major coup for the airport which markets itself as Shakespeare’s Airport in the Far East, owing to huge interest in the Bard.
The flights, made possible by the £40million extension of the runway, would be to Beijing and Hangzhou and would begin two months before direct services launch in Manchester.
It will be welcomed by business leaders with China a vital part of the region’s growth plans. Already, the Far Eastern superpower is the West Midlands’ top export market.
A summer of chartered flights between Birmingham and Beijing brought in £19m to the region’s economy.
Proposals for the new long-haul flights were revealed in documents released by aviation regulator Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), which showed the airline, part of the HNA Group, revealed early-stage plans to start flights from April 2016.
It is believed the airline has only held informal discussions with the airport’s management and no agreement has yet been reached.
A spokesman for the airport would not confirm the plans, but said: “Birmingham Airport continues to work with its partners to operate flights to China again next year to meet the enormous demand there is for direct connectivity to and from the Midlands.”
The Midlands is the only region in the UK with an export surplus to China which widened to an incredible £2.76 billion last year.
Last week, Czech Airlines became the 11th airline this year to announce that it will launch flights from Birmingham.
The flag carrier for the Czech Republic will deliver an additional 50,000 passengers a year through the airport with five flights a week to Prague from April 2016.
That came a day after a service to Qatar – where the World Cup final will be held in 2022 – was announced. The flights mean more than 100,000 people a year will be able to head to Qatar, which is one of the world’s strongest economies.
It opens up onward flights to places like Pakistan, Thailand Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangkok and Hong Kong.
Birmingham airport to get 8 flights per week to Doha by Qatar Airways
After the runway extension at Birmingham was finally opened in May 2014, the airport has been keen to get some long haul flights to justify it. Now from March 2016 there are to be 8 flights per week by Qatar Airways Boeing 787s between Birmingham and Qatar. There will be one flight per day, but two on Saturdays. This means there is capacity for 100,000 people per year to fly between Birmingham and Qatar. The 787s have 22 business class seats,and 232 economy seats (= 254 seats. Variants of 787 seating plans can be from 242 to 335 passengers, so this few passengers is not particularly fuel efficient). Birmingham says they are the 4th airport (with Heathrow, Manchester and Edinburgh) in the UK to have flights to Qatar. This is being sold as being a useful link for people from the Midlands wanting to watch the World Cup final in 2022. Birmingham airport’s CEO, Paul Kehoe is enthusiastic about “a choice of 152 destinations served by the airline, including South East Asia, China and Australasia” from Qatar, for “commercial and leisure links.” With more Qatar flights from Edinburgh and Manchester, it will operate 71 flights per week between the UK and Qatar from March 2016. Again, reducing the alleged need for a new south east runway, for this sort of flight.
Birmingham Airport wildly optimistic in anticipating 8,000 jobs from its runway extension
April 11, 2014
David Cameron has visited Birmingham airport, and effusively welcoming the announcement that 8,000 new jobs would be created, principally as a result of the long-awaited runway extension, with anticipated direct links to destinations like the West Coast of America and China. Shamelessly linking the airport jobs announcement with totally unrelated Government tax-cutting measures, the PM boomed: “The announcement of 8,000 jobs from Birmingham Airport is more great news in a week when we are cutting tax for 26 million hard-working people and taking over three million people out of income tax altogether.” Paul Kehoe used the PM’s visit for his PR purposes. Kehoe says by 2020 he forecasts Birmingham airport will have 15 million passengers a year, up from 9 million now. He claims this will create 4,000 jobs on-site and a further 4,000 in the immediate supply chain (doubtful figures, generally involving much double counting and optimism). “Politicians and business leaders are very good at talking the talk, but not always so assiduous at walking the walk.”
Birmingham business leaders condemn Airports Commission for not recognising Birmingham Airport’s economic potential
February 3, 2014
Business leaders in Birmingham have criticised the Airports Commission’s interim report, released on 17th December, for overlooking the “crucial role” Birmingham Airport could play, in allegedly supporting the local and national economy. The Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) said the potential for the airport to capture thousands of new passengers was not being considered. It has written to MPs Louise Ellman, chair of the Common’s Transport Select Committee, and committee member Chloe Smith to outline its view. The GBCC would like to invite Ms Ellman and other members of the Transport Select Committee to visit businesses in Birmingham “to showcase how Birmingham Airport can help drive the export-led recovery.” The GBCC says it is pleased that Birmingham Airport has been identified as a long-term option for development. They say that “the catchment area for Birmingham Airport is home to half a million businesses (approximately 25% of British business) and has the largest share of manufacturing activity of all airport catchment areas.” Also that the Commission “could have gone much further in exploring the role of both HS2 and other economic assets across the West Midlands.”