Heathrow Airport has gained its 11th Chinese connection, with the first flight from Shenzhen touching down on 30 October.
The service is operated by Shenzhen Airlines, providing London with a direct link to the economic powerhouse that is also dubbed China’s most innovative city.
Located just over the border from Hong Kong, Shenzhen has a population of 12 million people and has one of the highest GDP per capita of any city in China.
Flights to Shenzhen will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays using an Airbus A330-300 and provide 3,120 tonnes of capacity for imports and exports.
Since the start of 2018, Heathrow has gained links to Chongqing, Wuhan, Sanya, Changsha, Xi’an and now Shenzhen, adding to existing services to Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Qingdao.
Heathrow’s Trade Tracker Report shows exports to China via Heathrow have grown 330 per cent over the last year, but rival airports in Europe have spare capacity to provide daily services to destinations including Hangzhou, Chengdu and Kunming.
The airport says that identifying efficiencies and gaps in schedules, Heathrow has been able to accommodate new routes but this is a limited and piecemeal approach.
Heathrow Airport chief commercial officer, Ross Baker says: “While our passengers and exporters will undoubtedly be pleased with our new Shenzhen connection, along with the other routes we have announced this year, we know that in order to achieve true transformational change for our culture and economy we need the additional capacity for cargo and passengers to reach greater benefits.
“It is the creation of this extra capacity, achieved through Heathrow expansion that will allow Britain to trade on a truly global platform whilst providing Britain with a front door that is the best connected in the world.”