British Airways is to introduce flights from Heathrow to Chengdu from September 2013.
The airline will become the first to fly between Heathrow and the Chinese city when it starts the three times per week service. Currently BA only flies to Beijing and Shanghai on the Chinese mainland as well as to Hong Kong.
BA is using the slots acquired from its purchase of BMI to introduce more flights to the Far East – Seoul was added as a destination earlier this month.
Willie Walsh, CEO of BA’s parent company IAG, said: “I am delighted to announce this new route which demonstrates the importance of mainland China to British Airways and our commitment to grow our presence here.
“Economic growth in China is continuing to outstrip that of most other countries, and Chengdu is not only the capital of Sichuan Province in the south-west of China but one of the country’s largest cities.”
The Chengdu services will start on September 22, 2013, using a Boeing 777 with four cabins including First, Club World and premium economy.
Tickets went on sale for the route today with a special offer of £508 for bookings made by January 6.
BA is also to add more flights from Heathrow to Amman, Chennai, Hyderabad, Jeddah, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro and Toronto for summer 2013.