British Airways’ boss has urged the UK government to ease visa restrictions on Chinese travellers as the carrier unveiled a new codeshare agreement with China Southern Airlines.
The deal means that BA customers can now book seats on China Southern flights to four destinations – Shenyang and Harbin (via Shanghai) Changchun (via Shanghai or Beijing) and Dalian (via Beijing).
BA currently operates 10 flights per week to Shanghai and also flies daily to Beijing – both from Heathrow. Although the airline axed its route to Chengdu in January 2017.
Alex Cruz, CEO of British Airways, said: “We are excited by today’s announcement, which will help to drive tourism and economic and cultural exchange between the UK and China, by facilitating reciprocal leisure and business travel.
“Now we need the British government to take urgent action on its visa policy by making it easier for Chinese businesses and tourists to come to the UK. China is the world’s second largest economy and we need to do all we can to encourage these trade links. This is even more critical post Brexit.”
As part of the deal, China Southern Airlines customers will be able to book seats on BA flights from Heathrow to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle and Belfast.
China Southern called the agreement with BA a “significant milestone” in its network development strategy.
“The United Kingdom is one of the most competitive markets, and by partnering with British Airways, each airline can use its strength to benefit the other and offer more choice and enhanced connectivity to all guests, while experiencing the world-class services and products offered by both airlines,” said the airline in a statement.