Essex

Stansted Airport plans to land direct routes to China

Exterior view of Stansted Airport
Image caption Stansted Airport has started talking to prospective carriers for a direct service to China

Stansted Airport has revealed it is trying to secure a direct service to China as air links are being demanded by British business leaders.

A spokesman told BBC Essex routes to China was an issue the airport "needs to focus on for future growth."

Long-haul flights to emerging countries will be examined by the Airports Commission as it looks at all London airports' capacity over the next year.

Stansted serves 18 million passengers a year, but has capacity for 35 million.

Mark Souter, head of airline relations at Stansted, said: "I was recently at a routes development conference in the Middle East talking to prospective long-haul airlines - that really is our focus.

"There is a huge amount of growth with the Middle Eastern carriers in emerging markets like China, south-east Asia and Latin America.

"Given that we have a lot of capacity to play around with here, clearly that has to be an area we need to focus on for future growth and to satisfy our passengers.

"We don't have those [China] routes from Stansted at the moment and I'm keen to build relationships with those airlines."

The airport welcomed its first ever passenger flight from China in August.

A specially chartered China Southern Airlines A330 carried more than 200 Chinese VIPs, performers and artists from Beijing for a cultural event as part of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games celebrations.

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