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LONDON: October 11, 2016. The UK and China have agreed to more than double the number of flights to 100 a week between their two countries and allow for an unlimited number of air cargo services.

A restriction on the number of destinations has also been increased from six, allowing services between any point in the UK and any point in China.

UK signs ChinaIn June this year Manchester became the first airport outside London to begin direct UK-China air links with the launch of a four times a week A330 service by Hainan Airlines to Beijing.

Current operators from capacity-restricted London Heathrow to Beijing and Shanghai include British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, China Eastern, Air China and China Southern – which also began a twice-weekly B777 freighter service between London Stansted and Guangzhou last year.

By comparison, the Netherlands currently links six cities in China from a five-runway Schiphol: Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Xiamen, Guangzhou and Chengdu. And in Germany last month, Frankfurt airport signed an MoU with Beijing Capital International Airport and Air China to increase flights to and from Beijing – adding to a list of other Mainland China destinations including Changsha, Guangzhou and Shanghai.

Commenting on the agreement signed by UK Aviation minister Lord Ahmad and Wang Zhiqing, deputy Administrator of China's Civil Aviation Administration (right), Lord Ahmad said: "Post Brexit, improving trade links with key markets such as China will boost exports and tourism, as well as helping create jobs and strengthening our local economies. This deal demonstrates that the UK is very much open for business."

UK Transport secretary and leading 'Brexit means Brexit' supporter Chris Grayling added: "This deal is a big moment for the UK. Strong connections with emerging markets like China are vital for us if we are to continue competing on the global economic stage." He said it would be up to the airlines as to whether they take advantage of the new aviation regime.

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