Virgin to restart flights between London and Shanghai for the first time since Covid

Virgin Atlantic flights to Shanghai will be available from May 1 (PA Media)

Virgin Atlantic is selling flights between London Heathrow and Shanghai again after the route was halted for more than two years due to the Covid pandemic.

The airline has announced that it will restart flights between the capital and China on May 1 after suspending the route in December 2020.

Fares start at £699 and travelers to China will not need proof of vaccination, but will need to show a negative PCR test before entering the country.

Passengers bound for China will also be required to submit a health declaration form. Passengers arriving from China to the UK must have a negative PCR or lateral flow test.

Shanghai is the final international route to return to Virgin services following the global pandemic.

Shanghai is a hub for Virgin’s new partner China Eastern, so customers will be able to connect to downstream services in the city.

Juha Jarvinen, Virgin Atlantic’s commercial director, said: “We look forward to welcoming our customers back on board and providing vital links to one of the UK’s largest trading partners, for both passenger and cargo services.”

China is the final route added to the rest of Virgin Atlantic’s global network, including the US, the Caribbean, South Africa, India and Pakistan.

The airline’s Tel Aviv service will double capacity this summer, and new routes to the Maldives and Turks and Caicos Islands will also begin later this year.

The company said the decision to bring flights back to Shanghai follows an easing of travel restrictions by China, with borders reopening to foreign nationals for the first time since 2020.

China said on Monday that the country’s Covid situation was at a “low level” and visits to fever clinic due to the coronavirus during the Lunar New Year fell by around 40 percent ahead of the holiday week.

Travel domestically, as well as in and out of China during the holiday period, rose sharply after Beijing abruptly abandoned a nearly three-year zero-Covid policy in early December.

The sudden relaxation of restrictions in China was followed by a wave of infections among its population of 1.4 billion. A leading government scientist said 80 percent of people had already been infected in January.

The reinstated flights from Shanghai come as Hong Kong unveiled a campaign that will include 500,000 free flights to lure visitors, businesses and investors back to the financial hub after more than three years of harsh Covid restrictions.

The “Hello Hong Kong” campaign was launched on Thursday with leader John Lee saying it would show the city was open to tourism and aimed to boost business and investment in China’s special administrative region.

“Hong Kong is now connected to mainland China and the entire international world, and there will be no isolation, quarantine, or restrictions to experience…enjoy the hustle and bustle of Asia’s world city,” he said.

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