Juneyao Airlines and China Eastern have applied to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) to open three new routes to destinations in Europe.
Shanghai-based carrier Juneyao Airlines has requested permission to fly three times per week between Shanghai and Manchester, as well as a three-weekly service between Shanghai and Athens. It hopes to start both services in March 2020 using its Boeing 787-9 aircraft.
Manchester currently has one connection to mainland China, with Hainan Airlines operating four weekly flights to Beijing Capital.
A report released in September 2018 found that passenger numbers reached 90,000 in the first year of the Beijing flight, up 15 percent on pre-launch estimates. It added that the service has generated a visitor spend of £138.8m and boosted export value from Northern England by 265 percent to £200m per month.
Air China received approval to open a Shanghai - Manchester route in November 2015 but is yet to begin service.
Athens, meanwhile, is served by Air China which operates a three flights per week to Beijing Capital. The route opened in September 2017.
Elsewhere, China Eastern has applied to serve Milan, the host destination for World Routes 2020. It plans to operate Wenzhou – Milan twice a week, starting in October 2019.
Milan Malpensa is currently connected to four destinations in China. Air China operates daily service to Beijing Capital and Shanghai Pudong, while Neos Air flies once a week to Guiyang and twice weekly to Nanjing.
In addition to the three European route applications, Shenzhen Airlines has requested to operate a seven-weekly Nanchang - Osaka service, while Beijing Capital is requesting for a three-weekly Qingdao- Okinawa route.
China Eastern also wants to serve Shenzhen - Lianyungang - Jeju three times per week, starting in July 2019.