2021-09-20 13:06


Chinese Students Return to UK, Even Though Flights are Banned

Source: Global Times

As global traffic is still suffering from disruption from the pandemic, a Hainan Airlines flight took 244 Chinese students on Saturday from Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality to Manchester in the UK, marking the first chartered flight facilitating students back to their studies by a domestic airline in 2021. 

Flight HU7953, an Airbus 330-300, will fly around 12 and half hours to deliver the students directly to their destination.

"So far, there are no direct flights between the Chinese mainland and the UK. Transferring at a third place would be inconvenient with the long waiting time and increased risks of virus infection," a student surnamed Li said at the Jiangbei international airport in Chongqing on Friday.

More chartered flights, with support from the Chinese Embassy in the UK and the municipal government of Chongqing, are expected to send students to the UK in September and October, according to Hainan Airlines.

Only Chinese students heading to British schools are eligible to buy the tickets and there is no external selling channel to get the tickets, the airline told the Global Times on Saturday.

Chinese students have become the largest group of international students in the UK, surpassing the EU, with analysts saying that the situation is caused by both the impact of visa restrictions from the US on Chinese students and the UK's attempts to maintain normal cultural exchanges.

Around 216,000 Chinese students are studying in the UK, according to the Chinese Embassy in the UK.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, all regular passenger flights between the Chinese mainland and the UK have been suspended since the end of 2020.

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