China Eastern will start a new three-weekly Airbus A330-200 route on 7 December between Shanghai Pudong International Airport and London Gatwick Airport adding cargo capacity between the two cities.
The news comes as the airport today revealed that cargo tonnage grew by 28.8 per cent year-on-year (YOY) in July to 10,129 tonnes, with results driven by long-haul route expansion.
On a rolling 12-month basis, freight is up 26.3 per cent YOY to 109,315 tonnes, up on the 86,544 tonnes in the previous 12 months.
Shanghai is the leading city driving the Yangtze River Economic Zone – a region accounting for 20 per cent of China’s GDP and responsible for a third of the country’s imports and exports.
Gatwick Airport chief executive officer, 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.”