Manchester will soon boost its connections to China, with a direct service to Shanghai launching this summer.

Juneyao Air initially announced the route in 2019, but had to postpone its launch due to the pandemic. On 1 July the carrier will begin its three-times-weekly flights to Shanghai, operated by a two-class Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The flights will take place on Mondays, Fridays and Sundays.

According to Manchester airport, around 185,000 people from across the North already travel to Shanghai indirectly each year. Additionally, there are more than 9,000 Chinese students in the city, representing around one in nine of the student population in Manchester  – a rise of 43 per cent compared to 2018.

As well as connecting communities, the new route hopes to strengthen economic links between China and the North of England, building on the success of Hainan Airlines’ existing Manchester-Beijing service.

When this route launched in 2016 export values from Manchester Airport to China grew 41 per cent to £1.29bn and enquiries about investment in the area from China doubled in the two years that followed.

Chris Woodroofe, managing director of Manchester airport, commented on the news:

“The fact that Jueyao Air has chosen Manchester as its first UK service is a huge boost to the region for so many reasons. It will allow people to travel and see one of the world’s most incredible cities, open up opportunities for business and trade with China’s financial hub and help the North’s Chinese community connect with their family and friends.

“On top of all that. Make it even easier for people from China to access the North and sample everything we have to offer, from Manchester’s thriving cultural and sports scenes, to the beautiful scenery of the Lakes, the Peak District and the Yorkshire Dales.

“Not only will visitors from Shanghai get access to the great cities and regions of the North, including, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, North Wales and the Scottish borders, this route will give them a great new entry point to the UK as a whole.”

Juneyao Air chairman, Wang Junjin, added:

“I am delighted to see that with the joint efforts of all parties, the Shanghai-Manchester route will resume this July, becoming the first direct scheduled passenger route between Shanghai and Manchester.

“On behalf of Juneyao Air, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all partners and passengers for their support over the years. I also hope this route will bring more business opportunities and flexible travel options to all passengers, and promote economic exchanges between Shanghai and Manchester, as well as between China and the UK.”

Hainan Airlines’ four-times-weekly service between Manchester and Beijing is also set to increase to daily from June to September 2024.

We focused on Manchester’s enhanced transport links as part of our recent UK Spotlight series. Find out more in our feature:

UK spotlight: Manchester