Click here to download the Frontier Economics study.

UK/CHINA. A new report from Frontier Economics claims that London Heathrow Airport’s direct flights to China contribute over £510 million (US$714 million) annually to the UK economy and create nearly 15,000 jobs.

Heathrow Airport published the study this morning, arguing that just one extra flight per week on existing China routes will provide a cash injection of £16 million (US$22.4 million) a year because of increased business travel, and enhanced trade and investment.

This incremental increase in capacity could also support an additional 530 jobs annually, the airport company said.

Heathrow offers more than 100 direct flights to China every week. Of these, 55 go to Hong Kong, 22 to Shanghai, 20 to Beijing, ten to Guangzhou and two to Qingdao.

“While connections to Chinese cities are clearly valuable to the UK, rival EU hub airports with capacity to cope are able to fly to 14 other Chinese destinations, opening up more trade and investment to their respective countries,” Heathrow Airport said.

Heathrow Airport Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye said: “Heathrow is proud of its role as a gateway to these vital Chinese markets; enabling global trade as the UK’s largest port by value, acting as a catalyst for thousands of jobs for the local community and contributing billions to the UK economy.

“Expansion of Heathrow is a chance to deepen relations between China and the UK; as the report highlights, just one extra route could contribute hundreds of jobs and millions to the UK’s GDP.  As the country prepares to leave the EU and China’s economy continues to grow exponentially, this is an opportunity the UK cannot afford to miss.”

Economic take-off: Heathrow Airport wants a big boost in Chinese flights, which it says will spur the UK economy