Direct flights from UK to China to more than double

The limit on passenger flights between the UK and China will be raised from 40 to 100 a week

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Indy Politics

Britain and China have signed a deal that will allow thousands more flights each year between the two countries.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the agreement would provide "massive opportunities" for trade, tourism and jobs, in the wake of the decision to leave the European Union.

The deal lifts the limit of direct flights per week from 40 to 100 in both directions, and restrictions on cargo flights will be completely lifted.

A second rule, that decrees only six aiports in each country can offer direct flights between the two will also be lifted, allowing for direct flights between the UK and dozens more Chinese destinations.

Mr Grayling said: "This deal is a big moment for the UK. Strong connections with emerging markets like China are vital for us if we are to continue competing on the global economic stage.

"Hundreds of thousands of Chinese people visit the UK every year, spending hundreds of millions of pounds. Raising the number of permitted flights between the two countries will provide massive opportunities for our businesses, helping increase trade, create jobs and boost our economy up and down the country."

270,000 Chinese visitors came to the UK in 2015 - up 46% on the previous year, but still a tiny percentage of overall visits numbers to Britain. But their spending increased by 18% to £586 million, making them among the top 10 most valuable countries for tourism

Earlier this year, Manchester became the first UK airport outside London to offer scheduled non-stop flights to China.