Birmingham Airport is to become the first UK airport outside London to offer direct charter flights to China.
The Beijing to Birmingham link was announced by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Maria Miller.
The China Southern Airways route is also set to herald an influx of Chinese tourists travelling to the Midlands with Birmingham Airport becoming the country’s first gateway to offer UK charter package tours from China.
The joint initiative between the airport, China Southern Airlines, Caissa Travel Management Co and Birmingham China specialist agency, United Travel, comes on the back of demand for more flights between the two countries.
Ms Miller said: “This is great news for Birmingham and Britain. China is a vital trade and tourism partner for us and opening up this new route will encourage even more Chinese visitors to fly to our country and experience more of what our great nation has to offer outside of the capital - from tourist attractions to shopping, culture to heritage. The new route will provide great investment and job opportunities for businesses in Birmingham and the Midlands.”
The new route has been made possible thanks to Birmingham Airport’s £40 million runway extension, which will open next month.
The summer programme will involve direct flights operated by China Southern Airlines arriving from Beijing into Birmingham between July 22 and August 6.
Paul Kehoe, Birmingham Airport’s chief executive, said: “Today’s announcement is a result of three years’ collaborative working with Birmingham City Council, Marketing Birmingham, VisitBritain and Shakespeare’s England to establish relationships in China and promote the many jewels that the Midlands has to offer, such as The Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Warwick Castle, Bicester Village and the vibrant city of Birmingham itself.”