Newly appointed chancellor Philip Hammond flew to the city of Chengdu, in central China, for the first gathering of G20 policymakers since the EU referendum in July. The chancellor told his audience in Chengdu he would concentrate on boosting the UK’s trade opportunities beyond Europe. “Britain is open for business and one of the most attractive destinations for international investment,” he told his audience.


The UK has a strong relationship with China, one of the BRIC nations forecast to dominate the international stage in spite of its slowing economy. The value of Chinese investment in Britain is forecast to reach £30billion, including the amount China has promised for the HS2 rail project and the £6billion earmarked for the Hinkley Point nuclear plant.

China is the world’s second-largest economy but, according to the World Bank, if the country is to sustain significant expansion, far-reaching policy adjustments are needed to address issues like inequality, urbanisation, and environmental sustainability. None of which need concern executives following hard on the heels of Hammond in the quest for Sino-British trade deals, with UK Trade and Investment listing opportunities across the board.

All the destinations in our survey can be reached on direct flights from the UK or one-stop services from Europe or the Gulf. The growing importance of the Chinese market is illustrated by several new services launched this summer from the UK, including Tianjin Airlines to Chongqing and Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong, both from London Gatwick; and Hainan Airlines from Manchester.

china flights

Selected flight information supplied by aviation intelligence specialist Where destinations are served by non-stop services from the UK alternative one-stop options with other European, Asian and Middle Eastern airlines have not been included.

Getting Around
China has built a comprehensive transport network in the past decade, including high-speed rail links. For most business visitors with a multi-stop itinerary, however, the country’s much improved air services will be the preferred option – especially as one of the key business routes, Beijing to Shanghai, is 663 miles overland. The major domestic carriers are Air China, Shenzen Airlines, Tianjin Airlines, China Southern and Hainan Airlines, who together cover much of the Chinese mainland. The government lifted restrictions on privately invested carriers in 2013 and startups have since made at least nine route applications, with the focus on low-cost operators. The budget sector is currently represented by operators such as West Air, 9Air, China United and Spring Air, who account for 7% of the overall market in total and can offer significant savings on fares.

One-stop connections from the UK
One-stop flights to China from their European hubs are offered by numerous carriers, including Air France, KLM, Lufthansa , SAS and LOT. Finnair, for example, flies from Helsinki to Beijing seven times a week, as well as Chongqing (4) and Shanghai (7). It takes the so-called Great Circle Route which gives the shortest flight times to China. You can also fly to the destination via the Middle East, with Emirates , Etihad and Qatar Airwa ys, as well as with various Asian carriers via their regional hubs.