A 13th destination in China is being served from Heathrow with the start of Europe’s first direct route to Zhengzhou.

China Southern is to run twice-weekly Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner flights to the capital of Henan Province from Terminal 4 with 55,328 seats a year.

Zhengzhou is one of China’s eight ancient capital cities offering access to the famous Shaolin Monastery and Pagoda Forest, as well as the UNESCO world heritage site considered to be the birth-place of the ancient martial art of kung-fu.

The city is also an important Chinese manufacturing hub and a key business destination, responsible for manufacturing 70% of all Apple iPhones.

The number of destinations available via the London hub has allowed exports to China to grow by 135% in value from  2018 compared to the previous year, totalling £7 billion.

More than 1.3 million passengers travelled from mainland China to Heathrow in 2018 – an increase of 14% over previous years.

Heathrow 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.

“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.”

tw5