British Airways announces direct service to Chengdu

New flights highlight growing importance of western China to world’s economy

British Airways announced today that it will launch direct flights between Chengdu and London to serve the rapidly growing market in western China.

The thrice-weekly service will start on September 22, 2013. British Airways will be the only UK carrier to offer a direct service between Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport and London Heathrow.

The flight numbers for the service have been chosen to include the auspicious number eight. The Chengdu to London flight will be BA88 and the London to Chengdu flight BA89.

The route will be served by a four-cabin Boeing 777-200 aircraft with First, Club World (business class), World Traveller Plus (premium economy) and World Traveller (economy).

Willie Walsh, Chief Executive Officer of the International Airlines Group (IAG), parent company of British Airways, said: “I have visited China on many occasions and last year went to Chengdu to see for myself the progress that has been made at the airport. It is truly impressive and shows vision and ambition.

“I am delighted to announce this new route which demonstrates the importance of mainland China to British Airways and our commitment to grow our presence here.

“Economic growth in China is continuing to outstrip that of most other countries, and Chengdu is not only the capital of Sichuan Province in the South West of China but one of the country’s largest cities.

“Since 1990, Chengdu’s economy has expanded rapidly, consistently delivering double-digit rates of growth. We are confident that the new route between Chengdu and London will prove popular with customers travelling between the two major economic hubs.

“China is also a fascinating venue for leisure travellers, and the region is famed for its giant pandas, rich culture and excellent cuisine.”

Mr Li Wei, chairman of the Sichuan Province Airport Group, said: “We look forward to welcoming British Airways to Shuangliu Airport. The new flights are another step forward in enhancing the airport’s connectivity and role as an international and domestic civil aviation hub. The direct link to London will provide added convenience for travellers and play a positive role in enhancing Sichuan’s economic and cultural ties with the United Kingdom.”

The new service will allow travellers from China to connect conveniently at British Airways’ ultramodern hub, Heathrow Terminal 5, to an extensive network of flights to the United Kingdom, Europe, Africa and the Americas.

British Airways has operated in China for more than 30 years and currently offers 13 frequencies per week, seven to and from Beijing (six in the winter) and six to and from Shanghai.

Tickets for the new flights will go on sale on December 19, 2012.

Source = British Airways
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