Flights will head out of the city to Beijing and Shanghai from this summer after a deal was struck with Beijing Capital Airlines.
The twice weekly departures will offer passengers the chance to visit China’s capital and the country’s largest city.
It is a major feather in the cap as presently only Heathrow flies direct to China, with Manchester also set to fly there.
Flights to the Far East were a major target for the airport after its £40 million runway extension and comes on the back of securing Qatar Airways flights and the giant A380 plane, operated by Emirates.
The scheduled service follows on from the success of direct charter flights, the first outside of London, which saw over 7,000 Chinese visitors travel through Birmingham Airport during 2014 and 2015.
Runway extension timelapse
Paul Kehoe, chief executive of Birmingham Airport, said: “Today we have reached one of our goals – to offer direct scheduled services to China. We have made the investment, developed the market and today is testament that our region has enormous demand for direct flights to China.
“Last year around 150,000 people flew between our region and China, with passengers preferring to travel from their local airport. Beijing Capital Airlines and Caissa have recognised this demand, paving the way for a scheduled service to both Beijing and Shanghai.
“These flights will give our region direct access to China and will also offer Chinese tourists an alternative gateway to the UK, which has previously proved so popular.”
The flights to Beijing Airport and Hangzhou Airport will start on July 19.
These flights will be on sale to UK residents and will also be sold ‘inbound’ through the Chinese tour operator Caissa Touristic, one of China’s best-established travel companies.
The scheduled services will operate on Saturdays to Beijing and on Tuesdays to Shanghai (Hangzhou) and will be operated by an airbus A330-200 aircraft, with a total of 211 seats – 33 business and 178 in economy.
Andrew Dunbar, head of international relations, China, at Marketing Birmingham, said it was a major step forward. He said: “I have very rarely had a conversation with an inbound Chinese investor who didn’t ask about direct flights.
“It is incredibly important to be able to travel direct into the market.”
City businessman Anthony McCourt, founder of Court Collaboration which invests in Birmingham property backed by Chinese funding, said scheduled flights were the bare minimum needed to maximise the relationship
“Birmingham and China have a flourishing relationship and direct flights are crucial to that.
“But this is just part of that – the city has an opportunity to be a critical ally to an emerging superpower and we should be doing more to make sure that happens.”