Planned Birmingham flights by Beijing Capital Airlines to Beijing and Hangzhou scrapped
It was announced in late April that direct flights by Beijing Capital Airlines, from Birmingham to Beijing and to Hangzhou, some 60 miles from Shanghai, (once per week each), would start on July 19th. The new flights would have been by a Chinese travel company, Caissa Touristic, which owns Beijing Capital Airlines. The plan was to use an Airbus A330-200, with 211 seats (33 business and 178 economy). But under a month later, this seems not to be a reality, and Caissa Touristic has pulled out. The reasons are not known. [Likely to be competition from Manchester, 86 miles away?] Birmingham Airport is seeking ‘clarification’ from Caissa. Birmingham Airport has been hoping for links to China, to use its newly extended runway, and to compete with Manchester. At present there are only direct UK flights to China from Heathrow, with flights 4 times per week from Manchester with Hainan Airways starting on June 10th 2016. Over the last two summers Caissa Touristic ran a popular charter services that brought Chinese tourists into Birmingham for package holidays in the UK. “And news of the takeover of Aston Villa by Beijing-based tycoon Dr Tony Xia last week raised the prospect of big-spending Chinese football fans flocking to Birmingham.” Paul Kehoe, CEO of Birmingham Airport, said: “Last year around 150,000 people flew between our region and China.”
Direct scheduled flights to China from Birmingham Airport scrapped
20 MAY 2016
BY TAMLYN JONES
Tour operator Caissa Touristic withdraws from planned weekly schedule to Beijing and Shanghai for ‘unknown reasons’
A new direct scheduled service from Birmingham Airport to China due to launch this summer has been scrapped.
Birmingham Airport announced last month that a deal had been struck with Beijing Capital Airlines to run weekly departures to China’s capital Beijing and the country’s largest city Shanghai.
It was considered a major feather in the cap of Birmingham Airport as only Heathrow currently flies directly to China while Manchester Airport awaits the launch of a new service from there.
In a statement, Birmingham Airport said it was disappointed to announce Caissa Touristic, the tour operator which owns Beijing Capital Airlines and was due to sell the flights, had chosen to abandon its plan.
The programme was to commence on July 19 and the airport said Caissa Touristic had withdrawn “for unknown reasons”.
It comes in the same week that Chinese businessman Tony Xia acquired Aston Villa for a reported £60 million.
The move will be seen as a bitter blow for the region’s tourists and businesses after the success of previous programmes of direct charter flights, the first outside of London, when Caissa Touristic carried thousands of Chinese tourists into Birmingham on package holidays during 2014 and 2015.
Flights to the Far East were a major target for the airport after its £40 million runway extension opened in 2014.
Chief executive Paul Kehoe said: “There is strong demand for flights between China and the Midlands.
“Last year, around 150,000 people flew between our region and China and we have made significant investment over the last two years to offer services with Caissa.
“We are currently unaware as to the reasons why, given the success of the China services over the last two summers from Birmingham.
“We are awaiting more information from the tour operator as to why it has made this decision but we are confident we will be able to reinstate services between Birmingham and China in the near future.”
Hainan Airlines direct flights (4 per week) from Manchester to Beijing start on June 10th
Hainan Airlines will start flying (4 times per week) from Manchester Airport to Beijing from June 10th, as the first direct service from the north of England to mainland China. There are already flights from Manchester to Hong Kong. Some businesses including tourism hope this “will deliver a major boost to the region.” The University of Manchester is reported to believe the link will be a significant benefit to students. Faster air links to emerging markets could boost UK exports (they could also boost UK imports, which generally exceed exports). There are the usual comments like: “The Manchester Airport expansion shows that the city is ready to become an outward looking economic powerhouse” and there is even an expectation that it “will deliver an economic boost to the UK worth £250m” (no details or time-scale given …. it never is). Currently, more than 100,000 people from the North (about 6,350 from North Wales) fly to mainland China every year but have to travel indirectly via London or other overseas hubs. Manchester hopes that the flights will bring “hundreds of thousands of tourists to this part of the world every year.” North Wales Tourism and Bangor University have both praised the new service to Beijing and hope it “will unlock new opportunities for the area.” Many thousands more people will not need to use Heathrow for their travel to China.
Birmingham gets weekly flights to Beijing and Hangzhou with Beijing Capital Airlines
It is expected that direct flights by Beijing Capital Airlines, from Birmingham to Beijing and to Hangzhou, some 60 miles from Shanghai, will start on July 19th. At present there are only direct UK flights to China from Heathrow, with flights 4 times per week from Manchester with Hainan Airways starting this June. The new flights from Birmingham will operate on Saturdays to Beijing and on Tuesdays to Shanghai (Hangzhou) using an Airbus A330-200, with a total of 211 seats (33 business and 178 economy). Flights to the Far East were a major target for Birmingham airport, after its £40 million runway extension allowing use by heavier planes. Birmingham also, from March 2016, obtained 8 flights per week by Qatar Airways Boeing 787s between Birmingham and Qatar. Birmingham also has a daily service by Emirates, using an A380, to Dubai. Birmingham airport says the two new scheduled service follows on from some direct charter flights, which saw over 7,000 Chinese visitors travel through Birmingham Airport during 2014 and 2015, and in 2015 “around 150,000 people flew between our region and China, with passengers preferring to travel from their local airport.”
Regular flights from Birmingham Airport to China cancelled in shock move
24.5.2016 (Midlands – Express and Star)
Hopes for the start of regular flights between Birmingham and China have collapsed after the tour operator suddenly pulled out.
Caissa Touristic, one of China’s most important travel companies, contacted the airport at the end of last week to say it was cancelling the planned service.
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