Air China is set to launch direct flights between Gatwick and Shanghai on 2 November, while China Eastern Airlines is increasing its service on the route to a daily frequency.

The new Air China flights will operate four times a week using two Airbus A350-900XWB aircraft. On Saturdays, services will depart Shanghai Pu Dong airport at 0105, landing in Gatwick at 0555 local time. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, take-off is at 0130 and arrive at 0620 local time.

The return flight departs Gatwick at 1130 on Wednesdays and Saturdays, or at 1140 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and lands in Shanghai at 0650 the next day local time on all four days.

Air China previously operated flights from Gatwick to Chengdu but moved the service to Heathrow earlier this year. The airline also uses the A350 on its Heathrow-Beijing route.

Meanwhile, China Eastern will increase its direct flights – which launched last year – from three times weekly to a daily service this winter. Flights are operated by an Airbus A330-200.

Stephen King, head of airline relations at Gatwick airport, commented: “Chinese airlines and passengers are really responding to Gatwick’s offer and we are proud of the resulting role we are playing for UK plc.

“We’re delighted that more Chinese passengers are having the opportunity to experience the UK plus specifically the proposition at Gatwick. With Visit Britain highlighting that trips abroad by Chinese passengers have doubled over the last six years, we’re keen to play our part in making the UK the first-choice destination for these visitors.”

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