Juneyao Air will launch a new route between Manchester and Shanghai next year.
The three-times weekly service will begin at the end of March 2020 and be operated by a two-class B787-9 Dreamliner.
It will “initially” operate via Helsinki, the carrier said, with Monday, Wednesday and Friday flights arriving into Manchester at 0830 and departing for Shanghai at 1000.
It marks the first UK service for Shanghai-based Juneyao Air, which began its Helsinki route, on which it codeshares with Finnair, on June 28, 2019.
Juneyao had applied for permission to launch flights between London and Shanghai, but this was rejected.
Its B787-9s feature a fully-flat business class seat in a 1-2-1 configuration. Economy is configured 3-3-3.
The privately-owned airline has a fleet of 72 aircraft, primarily members of the narrowbody Airbus A320 family, as well as its five Dreamliners.
Fellow Shanghai carrier China Eastern, one of the ‘big three’ state-owned Chinese airlines, owns a 7 per cent stake in Juneyao.
Its European presence is growing, and in June 2020 it will launch flights to Athens.
Manchester Airport said 183,000 people within its catchment area in the north of England already travel to Shanghai via other means each year, and touted the economic benefits for the region.
The airport gained a link to Beijing with Hainan Airlines three years ago. Meanwhile Cathay Pacific offers flights to Hong Kong.
“Juneyao Air is delighted to launch its first fifth-freedom route to Manchester, and we look forward to developing Manchester’s traffic growth in the coming years,” said Juneyao’s chairman Wang Junjin.
“This route will further promote Greater Manchester’s tourism, as well as giving Britain an opportunity to boost its trade and investment links to China.”
Fifth freedom routes give an airline of one country the right to carry travellers between two other countries, as Alex McWhirter discusses in our latest issue.
Manchester Airport CEO Andrew Cowan said:
“This news underlines the critical role Manchester Airport plays in connecting people and businesses across the north to the world’s most important markets.
“We have seen first-hand how new routes to high-growth economies can unlock significant trade, cultural and knowledge exchange opportunities and this will be no different.
“We are delighted that Juneyao Air has recognised everything the north has to offer, in terms of its business base, natural and cultural assets and world-leading universities when choosing to launch this new service.”
Manchester is currently spending £1 billion on an expansion and renovation project that will see it get a new Terminal 2 in summer 2020.
Last month it opened a new private terminal which gives passengers access to fast-track security, a lounge space and aircraft transfers.