More than 50 travel agents are expected to attend a Chinese New Year Event in Birmingham to promote new direct flights from Manchester to Beijing.

Hainan Airlines now flies to the Chinese capital from the UK’s northern hub four times a week on board an Airbus 330-300 with 292 seats. The route launched in June.

And with its January 18 event at House of Fraser, the airline is now reaching out to the 52,000 people living in the West Midlands who fly to China per year.

More than 50 agents have confirmed their attendance so far and will be able to find out more about the airline and two return flights will be given away on the evening, between 6pm and 9pm.

There will be Chinese-themed entertainment at the event, which will also be attended by consumers interested in buying flights direct.

Loic Gao, UK general manager at Hainan Airlines, added: “Using Manchester Airport, instead of flying indirectly or from London, is a huge advantage for people in the Midlands. Not only does it save time for passengers travelling on holiday or on business, it also gives access to a wealth of economic and investment opportunities with one of the world’s biggest economies.”

Stephen Turner, commercial director at Manchester Airport, said: “Manchester Airport is a global gateway and offers a magnitude of routes that are not on offer anywhere else outside of London.

“Events like this allow us to inform key travel agents about the breadth of our offering to save their customers the time and hassle of using congested airports in the south.

“Our route to Beijing is proving to be incredibly popular with leisure and business passengers alike.”