UK, China Discuss Expanded Aviation Market Access

By Editorial 31 October, 2013

The UK and China have agreed to launch discussions to increase the number of direct flights between the two nations, something secured during a recent visit by Britain's Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughin.

According to McLoughlin, talks will focus on the signing of an improved bilateral air services agreement with China, which the Government hopes to have in place by early 2014. "The world of today is very different to that of a decade ago and we need a new agreement that reflects that. Improved air links between the UK and China would be good for trade, tourism and forging new partnerships, strengthening the links between our two countries," he explained.

UK authorities explained that an improved air services agreement would significantly boost the number of Chinese tourists and businessmen arriving in the United Kingdom each year. In 2012, Chinese nationals contributed approximately GBP300m (USD481m) to the UK economy, a figure that the UK Government anticipates can be increased substantially if new flights are permitted between the UK and China. An upgraded agreement would also boost business relations between the two states.

The current agreement dates back to 2004, and limits the countries' airlines to 31 return services per week between six destinations in the UK and China.

During the course of his visit to China, McLoughlin visited Beijing Capital International Airport, which, once completed, is expected to be the largest airport in the world.

McLoughlin's visit was concluded with the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese Transport Minister, replacing an agreement signed back in 2009. It seeks to allow the UK to share technical expertise and specialist knowledge with China, encourage inward investment, and help UK firms become more closely involved with the delivery of multi-billion pound Chinese infrastructure projects.

Tags: Investment | Aviation | China | United Kingdom | Trade | Services | Expats |


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