Air China has become the latest long-haul airline to announce flights from London Gatwick airport, with a four-times weekly service to Beijing commencing on May 1.
The flights will depart Beijing on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 0135, with the return leg from Gatwick leaving on the same day at 1315. The route will be operated by A330-200 aircraft.
Air China already serves London Heathrow daily from Beijing, with Virgin Atlantic codesharing on the route. BA also serves Beijing from Heathrow.
The move makes Air China the latest in a raft of long-haul carriers to announce routes from Gatwick airport, since the facility was purchased from BAA by Global Infrastructure Partners (see online news October 21, 2009).
In October, Gatwick gained a new route to Kuala Lumpur with Air Asia X (see online news October 25), while Vietnam Airlines is set to launch flights to Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi later this week, and Hong Kong Airlines and Korean Air will commence flights to Hong Kong and Seoul respectively in 2012.
Speaking to Business Traveller’s sister publication ABTN only last month, Gatwick’s CEO Stewart Wingate said that the airport was looking to grow the number of routes it offers to the Far East.
Report by Mark Caswell