Stansted Airport aims to be Chinese gateway to the East of England
Bosses at Stansted welcomed a senior delegation from the Chinese ministry of commerce to learn more about the opportunities that exist for the country's airlines to provide direct long-haul flights to the airport.
The visit follows last month's official launch at the Houses of Parliament of the East of England China Forum, which aims to create a new partnership between the region and China to stimulate investment, tourism spend, student numbers and export opportunities by securing a Chinese air link.
Stansted's chief executive, Ken O'Toole, said: "I am delighted to welcome the team from the Chinese ministry of commerce to London Stansted and share with them details of our £600 million programme to transform the airport and route development plans to attract Chinese carriers to the airport.
"Our ambition is for Stansted to be the Chinese gateway to the East of England, helping attract more investors and tourists to the region.
"The London-Stansted-Cambridge economic corridor is already one of the UK's major success stories, and improved connectivity and access will only help build on this great track record.
"Stansted is forecast to deliver up to 50% of London's expected passenger growth over the next decade and make a greater contribution to improving the UK's connectivity with the rest of the world, especially to fast-growing markets such as China, so it's vital we showcase what a great asset the airport is so we can take full advantage of the opportunities arising from greater economic co-operation between the UK and China."
Last year, China accounted for 30% of all global economic growth and the country's sustained expansion has created a surge in UK-bound tourism and investment as well as increased demand for British education, research capabilities, goods and services.
In 2016, the combined value of imports and exports between the East of England and China was valued at £4.3 billion.