The UK’s Manchester Airport is marking Lunar New Year with a fortune cookie and plush dragon toy giveaway for passengers travelling to China from Terminal 2.
Manchester Airport said passenger numbers from China have more than doubled in the last six months.
Almost 33,000 passengers flew between the city and Beijing from July to December, and increase of 104% over the first half of the year.
An additional 117,000 travellers made the journey between Manchester and Hong Kong in 2023.
The figures are expected to rise further this year, with Hainan Airlines increasing its number of flights in June. Its schedule will increase to daily from four times a week.
Its partnership with Loganair means that flights can easily be connected to Aberdeen, Inverness, the Isle of Man and Newquay.
According to Manchester Airport, export values from Manchester Airport to China grew 41% and enquiries have doubled in the last two years.
In addition, the region saw the number of Chinese students enrolling increase by almost 10% over the period.
Manchester has one of the oldest and largest Chinese communities in the UK, with Lunar New Celebrations including a huge city centre parade.
“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,” said Rhys Whalley, Executive Director at the Manchester China Forum.
“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.”
Chris Woodroofe, Manchester Airport Managing Director, added: “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.”
Last year, Manchester Airports Group appointed Ken O’Toole as its new Group CEO, succeeding Charlie Cornish who moves to chair the Board after 13 years in-post.