Additional flight options to Chinese cities are being promised through a new codeshare pact between British Airways and China Southern Airlines.

The agreement means that BA passengers will be able to book the Chinese carrier’s flights to four destinations in China – Shenyang, Harbin, Changchun and Dalian – via ba.com.

Shenyang and Harbin are offered via Shanghai; Dalian via Beijing, and Changchun through either Shanghai or Beijing.

BA runs ten flights a weekl to Shanghai and seven to Beijing from Heathrow.

BA Executive Club members can collect Avios when booking on the BA code on China Southern Airlines flights.

As part of the agreement, China Southern Airlines passengers will be able to book seats on BA UK domestic flights to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle and Belfast via Heathrow.

The UK carrier’s chief executive Alex Cruz said: “We are excited by today’s announcement, which will help to drive tourism and economic and cultural exchange between the UK and China, by facilitating reciprocal leisure and business travel.”

But he added: “Now we need the British government to take urgent action on its visa policy by making it easier for Chinese businesses and tourists to come to the UK.

“China is the world’s second largest economy and we need to do all we can to encourage these trade links. This is even more critical post Brexit.

“We want to achieve our vision of becoming the most popular European airline among Chinese customers.

“Today’s agreement will help us build toward that vision and it is great news for us to be able to offer all our customers the chance to travel to new destinations.”

A China Southern spokesman said: “The codeshare partnership with British Airways is a significant milestone in the airline’s network development strategy and a key component of the airline’s footprint in the United Kingdom market.

“The United Kingdom is one of the most competitive markets, and by partnering with British Airways, each airline can use its strength to benefit the other and offer more choice and enhanced connectivity to all guests, while experiencing the world-class services and products offered by both airlines.”