Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Last week the United Kingdom and China reached agreement on amendments to the existing air services agreement between the two countries. Under the new terms, the cap on weekly flights between the two countries will be raised from 80 to 200, and UK carriers will no longer be restricted in the number of Chinese destinations they choose to serve. This is the first major air services deal announced by the UK since the summer vote to leave the European Union and is being promoted as an attempt to broaden the UK's horizons beyond its previously Eurocentric commercial relations. As the linked Financial Times' article observes, however, for the UK to take full advantage of expanded service opportunities in China and elsewhere, it will first have to resolve bottlenecks related to visa policy and congestion at Heathrow.