A major bid to boost trade between the West Midlands and China has been unveiled – with a new international agreement between Birmingham Airport and MG Motor UK.
The two businesses highlighted the need for a direct air link to China as the £70 million project to extend the runway at the airport promises to provide a massive boost to the West Midland economy.
Building work on the 400- metre runway extension is scheduled to begin next July with completion by the end of 2014, providing direct flights from Birmingham to the likes of China, Russia, India and the West Coast of America.
The official link-up between the airport and Chinese-owned MG centres on an agreement to foster trade links between the West Midlands and China, with £76.59 million of investment coming to Birmingham from the Far Eastern superpower since 2003, creating 596 jobs in total.
Paul Kehoe, chief executive of Birmingham Airport, said: “MG Motor UK has the Chinese connections – they are the guys who know who are buying the air tickets.
“As we embark on our runway extension project next year, we’re keen to hear from, and work with, businesses that would benefit from a direct air link.
“This is particularly vital for MG Motor UK, whose parent company is Shanghai-based, SAIC Motor, the eighth largest automotive manufacturer in the world.
“Birmingham Airport is a strategic national asset, playing an ever-increasing role in supporting the Government’s air transport policy.”
William Wang, managing director of MG Motor UK, said: “We would welcome Chinese airlines to take advantage of the growing demand for air services between Birmingham and China.
“A Birmingham to Shanghai route alone would enable hundreds of business flights a year to operate, reducing the need for passengers to transit via other airport hubs or take long car journeys to other UK airports to catch flights.
"This service would play an important part in the investment from China in Birmingham and the West Midlands.”