Charter flights to whisk Chinese tourists to heart of Shakespeare's country

March 4, 2015 11:37 am 

LONDON, March 4 — Britain's second biggest city, Birmingham, is rebranding its airport as Shakespeare's Airport to attract thousands of Chinese tourists to central England.

The birthplace of the famous English playwright in Stratford Upon Avon is a short journey from Birmingham.

The airport has announced a partnership with Hainan Airlines and Chinese tour operator Caissa Touristic. The new partnership will see 17 charter flights this summer between Beijing and Birmingham, bringing around 4,000 Chinese tourists to Britain on package tours.

The airport plans to continue to use its new Chinese branding — "Birmingham Airport, Shakespeare's Airport" as a gateway to promote more tourism into a vast area known in Britain, as the Midlands.

Officials at the airport say the agreement with Hainan Airlines could create US$ 30 million for the Birmingham and wider West Midlands economy.

A US$ 62-million extension to the airport's main runway has paved the way for a long-term plan to attract scheduled flights from china to Birmingham.

Hainan Airlines' first flight will leave Beijing on July 3, with twice weekly flights on Mondays and Fridays using a Boeing 767-300 aircraft, with 223 seats — 32 in the business cabin and 191 in economy.

Jo Lloyd, commercial director at Birmingham Airport, said: "We are honored to host the UK's only direct charter flights from Beijing this summer and look forward to welcoming the thousands of Chinese passengers arriving twice weekly into the Midlands during the summer."

"Not only is this a significant market test, it paves the way for future sustainable scheduled flights into Birmingham from china that will support the growth in Chinese visitors as well as the region's economy," Lloyd said.

Lloyd also hopes future flight programs will include departures from Shanghai and Guangzhou as well as Beijing to Birmingham. (PNA/Xinhua)

LGI/EBP

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