Close to 300 Chinese students bound for various UK universities arrived on a specially chartered flight at London’s Heathrow airport from Hong Kong on Sunday, as academic institutions deploy alternative measures to bring international students over to the UK. 

The Cathay Pacific charter was the first of a series organised by Into University Partnerships, a British for-profit pathway education provider focused on the provision of foundation courses for international students. The initiative is part of a coordinated operation involving more than 50 UK universities and three more charter flights will bring close to a thousand more students to the UK by 26 September.

The ‘students-only’ direct flights between Hong Kong and London Heathrow, have been organised to support Chinese students starting their studies in UK universities as direct flights between mainland China and the UK remain suspended.

Sam Clews, Into University Partnerships’ director of operations for China, Hong Kong and Macau, said: “Thousands of Chinese students are having to take flights with multiple and significantly expensive connections to get to their universities in the UK. The use of the Hong Kong-London corridor for direct charter flights is saving them money and inconvenience. For universities, the charter flights are providing a vital alternative as they grapple with Covid-19 restrictions to get international students safely onto campus.”

Date published: 15 September 2021

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