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Manchester-Beijing direct flights spur rise in Chinese student numbers

Ni hao. Welcome to Manchester. Source: Shutterstock

The long-haul route is touted to the reason driving more trade, investment and international students to the northern region of England, according to a new media report.

A study by economic consultancy Steer Davies Gleeve found that the Manchester-Beijing air route, operated by Hainan Airlines since 2015, has brought in a “China Dividend” worth millions of pounds via significant increases in the number of exports, tourists and international students.

“In just one year, the Hainan route has brought such significant rewards to the Northern Powerhouse that I feel there is a real appetite in exploring launching airline routes from Manchester to other regions in China,” said Jake Berry, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth. as quoted by Business Standard.

“As we head to Shanghai we will look to build on the flourishing commercial relationship that the UK and China have established, bringing with us Northern businesses which demonstrate the strengths and opportunities in the region,” Berry said.

The study, called “The China Dividend: One Year On”, is one of the most comprehensive ever done on a brand new direct flight service between the two countries and the impact it makes on the economy and society.

The flight’s impact on education can be seen from the increase in intake of Chinese students at the University of Manchester, the report discovered.

One of its key findings was that the intake at the University of Manchester was twice the rate of Chinese students in the UK as a whole. The entire City Region experiences similar positive growth, with more young Chinese opting to undertake their undergraduate and postgraduate studies in this region’s universities.

In terms of exports, there has been a 265 percent jump, amounting close to GBP200m per month, in goods exported by businesses in the North from Manchester airport to China.

The opening UK’s first ever direct scheduled service to Mainland China from outside of London is also estimated to have brought 28,838 net additional passengers travelling directly between the two locations.

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