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First direct flight to China closer for Manchester Airport

Car Hire Manchester Airport staff are excited at the prospect of getting a direct flight to China.

There is belief that Manchester Airport is a step closer to agreeing its first direct flight to mainland China. During a speech at a conference about UK-China links, Chancellor George Osborne said Hainan Airlines had been authorised by the Department for Transport to run a direct flight between Beijing and Manchester.

Although the airport has not yet confirmed that any deal was in place for this to take place. A spokesman said “We continue to discuss and progress the commercial case for airlines to connect Manchester to key strategic markets, including Beijing.”

The move follows talks initiated by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, which led to a deal between the UK and China allowing more passenger flights between the two countries.

The previous agreement allowed a maximum of 31 return services per week in each direction, serving up to six destinations in each country. The new deal will increase that weekly maximum to 40 direct flights in each direction and allows UK airlines to serve up to three more Chinese cities than they do today. In April, airport bosses sealed a long-awaited deal with long haul carrier Cathay Pacific from Manchester to Hong Kong. Creating more than 200 jobs, the four-weekly route will start in December.