Hainan Airlines is to raise capacity on its planned Manchester-Beijing route four months before flights start.

The carrier is to deploy a larger aircraft to operate the service which will run four times a week from June 10.

By using an Airbus 330-300 rather than a smaller A330-200, the airline will provide more seats on the route.

The larger aircraft carries 292 passengers, with 32 in business class and 260 in economy.

The route will make Manchester the only UK airport outside of London with a direct scheduled service to China.

Hainan Airlines chairman, Xie Haoming, said: “We are delighted to be able to increase the capacity on our flights to and from Manchester. It highlights just how committed Hainan Airlines is on making this route a success.

“After what has been an incredibly positive Chinese New Year, we are now all focused on the route commencing in June.

“We look forward to welcoming passengers from the North and I am sure our Chinese passengers cannot wait to come and visit Manchester and the wider region.”

Manchester airport commercial director, Stephen Turner, added: “It is excellent news that Hainan Airlines is increasing the number of seats on its four flights a week to Beijing.

“This gives the 22 million people in our catchment area more choice and availability on what we believe will be an incredibly popular route.

“Feedback from passengers tells us that people want to fly from their local airport and this new route allows them to do just that whether on business or leisure.”