New flights to China from Heathrow announced
Those thinking about heading off on an overland adventure in China now have an extra option for getting to the country thanks to a new flight route from Heathrow to the southern city of Guangzhou.
Starting from June 6th this year, China Southern Airlines will begin running three flights a week from Terminal 4 to Guangzhou, China's third largest city.
It will be the only direct service from the UK to Guangzhou and it is hoped the flights will boost both trade and tourism links between London and south China.
UK travellers frustrated by a lack of direct services to emerging markets such as China and other areas of south east Asia are likely to welcome the news, with Britain lagging behind many other European nations when it comes to transport links to destinations such as these.
The deal has been in the pipeline since 2004 but has taken eight years to come to fruition, largely because Heathrow is operating at 99.2 per cent of its permitted capacity, meaning there is little room for taken on new routes.
"We are delighted that China Southern has chosen Heathrow, and we would like to welcome more flights from China Southern and other airlines that could bring jobs and growth to the UK," said Colin Matthews, chief executive officer of BAA, which owns Heathrow.
"The centre of gravity in the world economy is shifting and Britain should be forging new links with economies like China. Instead a lack of hub airport capacity is causing us to fall further behind the rest of Europe."
Airports such as Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam all offer direct flights to seven Chinese cities, in addition to the three served by UK airports - Beijing, Shanghai and now Guangzhou.
According to BAA, other airlines from major emerging economies would like to add new routes at Heathrow, but are unable to do so because of a lack of take-off and landing slots.