Earlier this week, Air China made a historic return to London Gatwick following a three-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chinese carrier will operate four flights per week between London Gatwick and Beijing Capital International Airport.
This news will provide economic value to London, with Chinese visitors spending an average of £1,828 per visit and £1.8bn in total in 2019, according to data from Visit Britain.
Commenting on the restart of this route was Stephanie Wear, the VP of Aviation Development at Gatwick Airport:
“We are delighted to welcome Air China back to London Gatwick, providing a vital connection between two of the world’s most influential capital cities.
“China is the world’s second-largest economy, so by offering direct flights between London and Beijing, Gatwick is providing an important service to people and businesses across the Southeast
“It is also great news for tourism and hospitality across the region. Chinese visitors are traditionally high spenders, so the return of regular flights will help support these sectors, which suffered so badly throughout the pandemic.”
Also commenting was Jingjie Li, General Manager for Air China in London:
“We are delighted to resume our direct service from London Gatwick to Beijing.”
“We are well prepared to serve passengers traveling between the UK and China and via our hub at Beijing Capital Airport and beyond.”
A Busy Month for London Gatwick Airport…
This is the sixth announcement made by London Gatwick Airport over the course of March, with many other announcements being made about route launches.
On March 22, it was revealed that Sky Express in Greece would be launching services from Greece, which began yesterday.
On the same day, it was revealed by SAUDIA that they would be bolstering flight services out of the London-based airport, with services from Jeddah due to take place.
Two days after, it was announced that Air Mauritius would be operating Gatwick flights from October 29 on a daily basis.
On March 28, Air India also joined in on the fun, operating its first-ever non-stop flight to London Gatwick (LGW), from Amritsar yesterday.
In doing so, Air India becomes the first and only Indian airline to operate at Gatwick Airport – the second-largest airport in the UK.
Finally, European ultra-low-cost carrier Wizz Air celebrated the launch of new routes from London Luton Airport and Gatwick Airport to Istanbul in Türkiye.
It remains clear that Gatwick Airport is definitely ramping up operations ahead of the Summer 2023 season, with this year’s period expected to be the busiest on record.
Quite a few carriers, such as Sky Express, Delta, Air China, SAUDIA, and others, are moving away from the whole London Heathrow model, which will be welcomed news for Gatwick.
But for now, all eyes are on Gatwick Airport now to see how the Summer 2023 season will perform and whether this could encourage the beginning of further growth in Winter 2023/24 and Summer 2024, respectively.