Chinese carrier Hainan Airlines has resumed flights to and from Manchester for the first time since the onset of Covid-19.

The weekly service operates on Mondays (moving to Tuesdays from October), departing Manchester at 1500.

The China-bound leg currently routes via Dailan where passengers must quarantine for seven days in line with Chinese regulations, while the Beijing-Manchester leg operates nonstop.

Hainan Airlines is using a two-class economy and business class Airbus A330 aircraft for the service.

The resumption of the route – which first launched back in 2016 – has been made possible by a recent agreement by the UK and Chinese governments to open an air corridor between the two cities.

Manchester airport said that Hainan had “moved quickly to start operating the popular service again, in time for the busy student season”.

Figures show that pre-Covid around 100,000 people travelled between Manchester and Beijing annually from the airport’s catchment area, with the route estimated to have led to a 38 per cent increase in Chinese visitors to the North.

Commenting on the news Chris Woodroofe, managing director of Manchester Airport, said:

“Today’s announcement is clear evidence of the vital economic role that Manchester Airport plays, both in the North and the UK as a whole, as we emerge from the pandemic.

“Prior to 2020, the Hainan service provided vital connectivity to one of the world’s most important economies and I am sure this news will be welcomed by the hundreds of thousands of people across the North who travel to and from China each year.

“It is extremely positive to see critical routes like this return to our departure boards and we look forward to working closely with Hainan Airlines to build on the previous success of this route.”