Gatwick Airport has become a new hub for Chinese travel, with the arrival of China Southern Airlines, joining ranks with Air China and China Eastern. This marks a significant expansion of services connecting London and the South East to China, enhancing travel options and economic ties between the regions.
China Southern, the nation’s largest airline, initiated its service from London Gatwick on Tuesday, December 12, featuring twice-weekly flights directly to Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport. This service, utilizing the state-of-the-art Boeing 787-8 aircraft, stands out as the sole direct link between London and Zhengzhou, offering a unique travel opportunity for passengers.
With this new addition, London Gatwick now boasts 16 weekly flights to China. This includes two daily services to Shanghai, further cementing the airport’s position as a key player in UK-China air travel.
These flights are expected to provide a substantial economic uplift to the tourism sector in London and the South East. Statistics from Visit Britain reveal that Chinese visitors contribute significantly to the UK’s tourism economy, with an average spend of £1,937 per visit and a total expenditure of £1.71 billion in 2019.
Stephanie Wear, VP Aviation Development, London Gatwick said: “We are delighted to welcome China Southern to London Gatwick. China is a hugely important market for us, our passengers, and the regional economy, so it’s fantastic news for London and the South East to have China’s three major airlines operating from Gatwick for the first time.
“The new service to Zhengzhou will enable passengers to not only visit a fantastic city steeped in history and culture, but also visit family and friends, and connect to destinations across China and Asia.”
Patricia Yates, Chief Executive, VisitBritain said: “China is an incredibly important inbound visitor market, our second most valuable in 2019 and we know the UK is high on the wish list of Chinese travellers. The new China Southern route into London Gatwick is fantastic news for holiday-makers and business visitors alike. We want to deliver a world-class welcome for visitors and boosting airline connectivity and seat capacity, making it easier to get to Britain, is crucial to our competitive tourism offer.”