British Airways and Virgin will again fly daily from the UK to China. Business

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British Airways and Virgin Atlantic will resume daily flights to China after two years of scheduled services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

BA’s first flight to Shanghai will take off from Heathrow on 23 April, with Virgin Atlantic’s first flight to the city on 1 May.

Both airlines are resuming daily services to China’s business and financial hub after the country lifted quarantine requirements for travelers arriving in January – removing one of the last pillars of its strict zero-Covid policy – Even as it grapples with the rise in cases.

BA, part of the International Airlines Group (IAG), will also restore Heathrow to Beijing flights from 3 June, operating four times a week.

European and US airlines have been reluctant to resume operations to China and other Asian destinations because of tough pandemic restrictions on visitors.

However, BA and Virgin Atlantic changed their stance last month after Beijing’s communist government lifted quarantine requirements for foreign nationals at the start of the Chunyun season, a travel period around the Chinese Lunar New Year.

Noella Ferns, BA’s head of sales for the Asia Pacific region, said: “We know [customers] Looking forward to reuniting with family and friends, coming to study in the UK and resuming trade between China and the UK.

“We have an incredibly rich history of flying to mainland China, connecting the two countries for more than 40 years. We look forward to restarting these routes.”

BA, which started operating a regular passenger service to China in 1980, had stopped flights in January 2021 after a sharp drop in passenger demand during the pandemic.

Virgin will resume daily flights between London Heathrow and Shanghai on 1 May for both passenger and cargo operations; Fares start from £669 per person. It stopped flights to China on 23 December 2020.

Juha Järvinen, Chief Commercial Officer, Virgin Atlantic, said: “The return of our Shanghai services is long overdue and I am delighted that it is finally a reality.

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“Shanghai is the last way back after the global pandemic, restoring our flight schedule to full capacity.”

Incoming travelers will no longer be required to quarantine upon arrival in China, but will still be required to show proof of a negative PCR test before entering the country, within 48 hours of travel, along with a health declaration form. Travelers arriving in the UK from China must have a negative PCR or lateral flow test.

Virgin will also double capacity on its Tel Aviv route this summer, operating a twice-daily service, and open new routes to the Maldives and the Turks and Caicos Islands to the southeast of the Bahamas later this year.

BA resumed flights between London Heathrow and Hong Kong on 5 December. The move comes two months after Virgin announced it would not resume flights on the route in March as planned because of the closure of Russian airspace following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

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