British Airways launched flights to Shanghai this week.
The service operates five times a week between London Heathrow and the Chinese city. It competes directly with Virgin Atlantic, which operates five weekly frequencies toShanghai.
The Shanghai service is the first new longhaul route launched by British Airways for over two years.
The move by BA follows an agreement made between theUK and Chinese authorities to allow more flights between the two countries. Flights were previously limited to six per week to Beijing, which are operated by BA, and four to Shanghai, operated by Virgin.
The agreement will enable 25 passenger flights betweenChina and theUK each week, allowing BA to launch toShanghai and Virgin to boost frequency to the city to five a week, which will increase to six a week from mid June and seven a week from October.
The other carrier operating direct flights between London andShanghai is China Eastern Airlines.
Virgin has also this week announced plans to fly toDubai andJamaica. The carrier will launch services between London Heathrow and Dubai from April 2006 and services from Gatwick toMontego Bay, Jamaica from July 2006. It also plans to increase Mumbai flights from three a week to daily from December 2005.
Report by Ginny McGrath