Tianjin Airlines is set to launch a new service between Tianjin and London Heathrow via Xian on May 7.

The stopover in Xian in China’s northwest Shaanxi province will make the service the first non-stop commercial flight between the province and the UK.

Flight GS7987 will depart Tianjin Binhai International Airport at 1055 on Mondays and Fridays, arriving in London Heathrow at 2000 the same day following a two-hour stopover in Xian. The return flight GS7988 will then fly out of Heathrow at 2200, arriving back in Tianjin at 2040 the following evening.

Overall, the journey will take approximately 16 hours including the stopover.

Tianjin Airlines will fly its two-class Airbus A330-200 aircraft on the route, which carries 18 seats in business class and 242 in economy.

Business class features the Zodiac Aura Lite seat, laid out in three rows with a 2-2-2 configuration meaning window passengers won’t have direct access to the aisles. These recline to a fully flat 78-inch (198cm) bed, and offer a width of 21 inches (54cm).

Meanwhile economy class is laid out 2-4-2 with seats offering 32 inches (81cm) of pitch and 18 inches (47cm) of width.

The new Tianjin Airlines route joins a slew of new services from Chinese carriers connecting cities in China with the UK capital.

Following the addition of a second daily flight on its Guangzhou-London Heathrow service in June last year, China Southern last month announced it would launch non-stop flights between Wuhan and London Heathrow on May 30, 2018.

Meanwhile earlier this week, Haikou-based carrier Hainan Airlines announced it would be launching a Changsha-London Heathrow service later this month on March 23. Both Hainan Airlines and Tianjin Airlines are subsidiaries of the HNA Group.

These new routes come as the number of flights between China and the UK is set to grow. In December, both countries signed a deal that increased the maximum number of weekly flights permitted between China and the UK by 50 per cent, from 100 to 150.

In the first half of 2017, the UK saw 115,000 visits by travellers from China, an increase of about 47 per cent on the same period in 2016.