Hainan Airlines started Manchester-Beijing flights in June 2016 and Manchester’s mayor Andy Burnham has commissioned a report into the impact of this route.
The China Dividend study found that the route has increase the number of Chinese visitors to northern England by 38% since 2016 – a higher growth rate than seen in London and the UK as a whole, where the average increase has been 30% over the same period.
Overall, the number of people travelling between Manchester and Beijing has increased by 80% since the route was launched.
The Manchester-Beijing route has also grown at a faster rate than any other UK-China route, which has been in operation for more than 12 months. Since its inception, 175,000 passengers have flown on the route.
Burnham said: “All parts of the north are benefitting from the economic, social and cultural connections that have forged as a result of the region’s first ever direct service to mainland China launching two years ago.
“We’ve really seen the success of the first route to China from Manchester airport, so we hope to see more being added in the future.”
Manchester airport’s chief executive Andrew Cowan added: “This is important research because it demonstrates the power of direct connectivity to fast-growing economies like China.
“While people could always travel to China by transferring at other airports, we were clear in our minds that securing a non-stop service would unlock a wide range of benefits for our city and the wider north.”