Heathrow Airport has grown its cargo capacity to China after China Southern Airlines added a new route to Zhengzhou.
It will be the first European connection to the Chinese city, a key manufacturing hub and business destination where 70 per cent of all Apple iPhones sold worldwide are manufactured. Zhengzhou is also one of the most important textile centres in China.
The new route means that Heathrow now offers 13 direct connections to Chinese destinations. The number of destinations available via the UK’s only hub airport has allowed exports to China to grow by 135 per cent in value from 2018 compared to 2017, totalling over £7 billion.
An analysis of Heathrow cargo data value reveals the top exports flying via the airport to China in 2018. The top annual export, pharmaceuticals, was valued at US$461.05 million.
Other top exports by value include aerospace materials $334.24 million; art $151.9 million; computers $67.69 million; clothing and fashion accessories $29.8 million; and footwear $12.6 million.
China Southern will operate the route twice a week and use a Boeing 787-800 aircraft and offer 2,080 tonnes of capacity.
Heathrow’s chief commercial officer, Ross Baker said: “The launch of our new route to Zhengzhou is an exciting opportunity for passengers and will provide Europe’s only direct connection to this unique Chinese destination.
“At Heathrow, we are committed to opening-up more routes to China as part of our strategy to drive forward the UK’s global connectivity for years to come.”