Direct flight from Manchester to Shanghai to launch in July

A new direct flight will connect Manchester with Shanghai from July after original plans for an air link were shelved due to Covid.

Juneyao Air will run the service three days a week, on Mondays, Fridays and Sundays, on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner with business and economy class seats from July 1 this year.

The Chinese private carrier originally announced plans in 2019 for thrice-weekly flights between the two cities via Helsinki. The route had been due to launch in March 2020 but did not go ahead due to the pandemic.

It is the airline’s first UK destination and the first time direct flights have operated from the north of England to Shanghai. Manchester will be the only English airport outside London with a direct service to China’s mainland.

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Juneyao Air chairman Mr Wang Junjin said: “In late 2019, we announced the launch of the Shanghai-Manchester route in cooperation with Manchester airport; but we had to postpone the flight schedule due to the pandemic. However, our internationalisation strategy never ends.

“I am delighted to see that with the joint efforts of all parties, the Shanghai-Manchester route will resume this July, becoming the first direct scheduled passenger route between Shanghai and Manchester.”

He was hopeful the new route will increase business opportunities and flexible travel options, as well helping to promote economic links between the two cities and the UK and China.

Manchester airport also welcomed the route as a cultural and economic boost for the north of England by opening up trade and investment opportunities and stimulating tourism in both directions.

Already around 185,000 people from across the north of England travel indirectly to China’s biggest city and financial hub Shanghai each year.

The route is also set to give hundreds of thousands of Chinese students access to more than 40 universities within two hours’ of Manchester airport.

Manchester airport managing director Chris Woodroofe said: “The fact Juneyao Air has chosen Manchester as its first UK service is a huge boost to the region for so many reasons.

“It will allow people to travel and see one of the world’s most incredible cities, open up opportunities for business and trade with China’s financial hub and help the north’s Chinese community connect with their family and friends.

“Not only will visitors from Shanghai get access to the great cities and regions of the north, including, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, North Wales and the Scottish borders, this route will give them a great new entry point to the UK as a whole. We look forward to working with Juneyao to make this route a success.”

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