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Trade between China and the UK is expected to see a boost following the announcement that China Southern Cargo launched the first direct freighter flights between the two countries on 20 June.

China Southern will fly direct from London's Stansted airport to China's third largest city, Guangzhou, two to three times a week with its Boeing 777-200 freighter, which London Stansted Airports’ MD Andrew Harrision said will offer UK businesses direct access to the Chinese market.

“We are delighted China Southern Cargo has selected Stansted as the base for its new UK service. It clearly demonstrates the returning confidence in trade between the two countries and is great news for businesses cross the UK, and in particular the eastern region looking to access the Chinese market,” Harrison said in a company statement.

China Southern Cargo’s Zhao Fengsheng said the move was a “milestone” for the airline.

“We are excited by entering this growing market, with an aim to serve customer needs and strengthen the economic ties between our two countries. By working closely with Stansted Airport and our business partners, we have the confidence to make this operation a great success,” Fengsheng said.