Gatwick has announced its first flights to Shanghai following the introduction of a new route by China Eastern.
The service launches on December 7 and will operate every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday to Shanghai Pudong airport on board an Airbus A330-200.
The news comes as the airport reports a year-on-year increase of 20.8% in July for long-haul travel and which helped make the month the busiest July to date.
The long-haul growth was driven by a number of markets, with Gatwick’s Asia routes growing by 134.8% year on year, while the airport’s US connections continue to prove popular, with New York up 67.5%, Boston up 58.7% and Las Vegas up by 32.5%.
Tampa saw a 5.3% increase in passenger numbers in July, ahead of the launch of new Norwegian flights from Gatwick to the Florida city this October.
Gatwick Airport chief executive Stewart Wingate said: “I’m delighted to welcome China Eastern to Gatwick and look forward to the start of this vital new link to Shanghai which, like London, is undoubtedly one of the world’s most important cities and business hubs.
"Starting from such a strong position gives this new route every chance of success, as it will be popular with business passengers travelling between the two economic centres, as well as leisure passengers keen to sample the excitement of China’s largest city.
“July’s traffic figures demonstrate that Gatwick’s long-haul network is driving the airport’s growth.
"These connections to China and other non-European countries will take on extra significance in a post-Brexit Britain as we become more reliant on them to generate vital growth through trade and by exploiting the other business opportunities that they provide.”