Patrick McLoughlin, the transport secretary, has been able to secure some negotiations with the aim of meaning more direct flights linking the UK and China will be possible in future.

He agreed that the early part of next year would see the start of negotiations about improving the bilateral air services agreement that the UK and China are part of.

It came as part of a visit he made to the East Asian country – the first from a transport secretary of state in more than two years, the Department for Transport reports.

He’s said that today’s world is much changed from ten years ago, and a fresh agreement is needed which reflects this fact.

“Improved air links between the UK and China would be good for trade, tourism and forging new partnerships, strengthening the links between our two countries,” he said.

It’s claimed that improving air links may be able to be of benefit to companies from the UK who go to China on a regular basis. More and more are doing this, according to the DfT.

Meanwhile, last year saw £300 million brought into the economy of Britain from Chinese nationals making visits to the country.

DfT says that better air links might play a part in increasing this number.

The agreement presently in operation between the two nations was formally put in place back in 2004, and means that airlines in the countries can only make 31 return services between six Chinese and UK locations weekly.

The hope is that the new arrangement will mean more flights can happen between more destinations.

One of the places that Mr McLoughlin went to when he was in China was Beijing Capital International Airport.

When it’s finished, this is forecast to be bigger than any other airport globally.

It presents a chance for Chinese and UK companies to work in collaboration, the DfT claims.

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