Manchester Airport has taken part in the celebration of the Lunar New Year in a unique way by giving away fortune cookies and dragon plush toys to passengers flying to China from Terminal 2. This initiative was motivated by last year’s report which shows a significant jump in the number of passengers travelling to and from Beijing in the second half of the year.
Hainan Airlines resumed its flights connecting to the Chinese capital in late 2022 after the pandemic and witnessed a dramatic rise in passenger numbers till late 2023. In 2023, this route saw 16,186 passengers in the first half of the year and 32,933 passengers in the second half of 2023, an increase of 104%.
One of the oldest and largest Chinese populations in the UK is found in Manchester, which celebrates the Lunar New Year with an impressive parade through the city centre that ends in the Chinatown neighbourhood. This year, airport employees are scheduled to participate in the parade.
Furthermore, Manchester Airport plays a vital role in maintaining the crucial economic ties between China and the north of the UK, while the number of enrolment of Chinese students in the universities in the region is up by 10%.
Cathay Pacific operated four flights per week last year between Manchester and Hong Kong, carrying over 117,000 passengers in total.
Chris Woodroofe, the Managing Director of Manchester Airport, said, “We’d like to wish a happy Lunar New Year to all those celebrating. The Year of the Dragon is believed to bring good luck and prosperity, and we are certainly very fortunate in Manchester to have a direct link to Beijing, which will become a daily service this summer.
“We’re proud to connect the North with the world, and with services to destinations like Beijing, Hong Kong and Singapore, our links to the Far East are unrivalled by any other UK airport outside of London.”
Rhys Whalley, the Executive Director at the Manchester China Forum, added, “Hainan Airlines’ decision to take the Manchester-Beijing route daily this summer is not only a vote of confidence in the prospects for post-pandemic two-way traffic but also in the airline’s conviction that the region will serve as a key gateway for Chinese businesses, students and visitors entering the UK market.
“This weekend’s Lunar New Year celebrations will once again see tens of thousands gather in Manchester’s Chinatown to welcome in the new year. As some of the largest scale celebrations in Europe; this will provide local residents, the thousands of Chinese students studying across the region as well as the ever-growing Chinese business community, an opportunity to come together to welcome in the year of the Dragon.”
For more travel-related updates and news, follow NCL Travel.