BA looking to land new service to Shanghai

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BRITISH Airways said it was hoping to launch a service linking the UK with Shanghai - the engine room of the surging Chinese economy.

If it gets the go-ahead from the Chinese authorities, BA hopes to begin five-times-a-week services between Heathrow and Shanghai during the summer.

BA also announced from June it would be increasing its Heathrow-Beijing frequency from four to 16 times a week and increasing the number of weekly flights between Heathrow and Hong Kong from 17 to 21.

The flight announcements follow last week’s decision by China to make the UK one of its Approved Destination Status countries - allowing many more Chinese tourists to come to Britain.

BA’s commercial planning director Robert Boyle said: "We have flown to both Hong Kong and Beijing for many years and are keen to start services to Shanghai.

"The city is the powerhouse of the Chinese economy and, as the economy continues to grow, we believe there will be a great demand for our flights.

"Shanghai Pudong airport is due to open a second runway and we are talking to the Chinese authorities about securing take-off and landing slots in Shanghai for our flights. We hope to fly five times a week with a Boeing 777 aircraft."

Meanwhile, a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) deal at Inverness Airport could be at an end, it has emerged.

Highland and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) is in talks with Inverness Air Terminal Ltd regarding the buy-out of a 25-year contract for the 9.6 million terminal at the Highland city, which opened in May 1999.

Fergus Ewing, MSP for Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber, confirmed a review of the PFI deal at the airport was under way.

A spokesman for HIAL said: "We believe that if a value-for-money buy-out of the Inverness terminal PFI can be achieved this is the best course of action."