First direct China Southern Airbus A330 charter flight from Beijing lands at Birmingham Airport

Birmingham Airport today/Tuesday 22 July 2014 welcomed the UK's first direct flight from China into
a non-London airport and inaugurated the use of its recently extended runway as the China Southern
Airbus A330-200 service departed for its five thousand mile journey back to Beijing

Tourism Minister Helen Grant MP visited the Airport to celebrate the historic flight and to congratulate
Birmingham Airport on becoming the country's first gateway to offer Chinese charter packages to the
UK. The flight was welcomed by Lord Popat of Harrow, Government Aviation spokesperson in the
House of Lords, alongside dignitaries from the city and surrounding area
The China Southern A330-200 aircraft, operated by one of China's leading tour operators, Caissa Travel
Management Co Ltd, arrived into Birmingham Airport fully laden with 248 tourists venturing into the UK
on organised package tours. The charter flights are the first in the UK to operate from China and the
sell-out tours demonstrate the enormous demand for more flights between the two countries.

"This is a historic day for Birmingham, and indeed the Midlands region. Never before has a commercial
airliner touched down on a runway outside of the Capital from China and we are enormously proud to
be the first to make this happen," said Paul Kehoe, the Airport's Chief Executive

"We have invested more than £200m in recent years to create an airport that can accommodate more
traffic, particularly to and from long-haul markets, and today we saw the first use of our runway extension
for what it was intended: to provide direct global connectivity from the Midlands," Paul added
These flights are a result of three years’ collaborative working with Birmingham City Council, Marketing
Birmingham, VisitBritain and the Government. The partnership forms part of the wider VisitBritain "
‘GREAT China Welcome" campaign, which was announced during the Prime Minister’s visit to China in
November 2013 and aims to make the UK the most welcoming destination in Europe for Chinese visitors
Helen Grant, Minister for Tourism, visited the airport today to congratulate it on becoming the country's
first gateway to offer Chinese charter packages to the UK. The Tourism Minister, said, "Our tourism industry
helps us sell the country to the world and is contributing to our long-term economic plan. The new route
opened today with a vital trade and tourism partner in China; this is great news for tourism businesses in the
Midlands, making it easier and more attractive for Chinese visitors to explore all the fantastic attractions in the
Midlands such as the Royal Shakespeare Company, Warwick Castle and the vibrant city of Birmingham itself"

Other VIPs welcoming the service at the airport included Mr Ren Jun, Vice President of Caissa Travel
Management, the Lord Lieutenant for the West Midlands, The Lord Mayor of Birmingham and The Mayor
of Solihull, as well as representatives from the Airport and Midlands' Chinese community

Chen Xiaobing, the President of CAISSA, said: "The successful launch of the first tour group not only presents
CAISSA’s spirit of advancing and innovating with the times, which has attracted wide attention, but also suggests
that this strategic and successful cooperation has opened up a new channel for travelling to England

The Birmingham Airport runway extension, completed in May 2014, provides airlines with unlimited take off range,
allowing jets to fly direct to China and beyond. This puts Birmingham in an ideal place to become an alternative
gateway to the UK for long-haul air travel

The Beijing schedule will operate weekly through to 5 August 2014, arriving into Birmingham at 0640 and
departing for Beijing at 1200 each Tuesday. The departure to Beijing today carried UK tourists travelling on
an organised two week package tour, provided by Birmingham based Chinese travel agent, United Travel

Chinese students from local universities were on hand to assist the airport and the arriving Chinese tourists
through the terminal. 2014 is a year of milestones for Birmingham Airport as it also celebrated its 75th
anniversary on 8 July 2014. During this period, it has handled more than 200m passengers through its doors

Tuesday 22 July 2014


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