To celebrate the new trade partnership initiative between Britain and Chengdu, the capital of the Szechuan Province in China and legendary home city of the Giant Panda, the Heathrow Express becomes Chengdu 72 Express for 3 days between the 21st and 23rd May.
To support the temporary name change, the Chngdu 72 Express will carry artwork of Giant Pandas fixed to the inside of carriage windows.
The train name change comes in the wake of British Airways increasing its direct flights to Chengdu from three times a week to five times a week using its Dreamliner aircraft and the offer of visa-free travel during the promotion period to Chngdu by the Chinese authorities.
Keith Greenfield , chief executive of Heathrow Express said at the press launch today ” For Chengdu business travellers with meetings in London, the Heathrow Express and now Chnegdu 72 Express is the fastest, most cost-effective and comfortable way to get into the capital. Our premium service takes just 15 minutes from Heathrow to London Paddington and runs every 15 minutes.”
Paul Rogers, BA Area Marketing Manager said “The recent deployment of our state-of-the-art 787 Dreamliner on the route and increased flight frequency to five times a week is needed because of the huge potential we see in Chengdu for business and tourism.”
Deputy Director General of Chengdu Municipal Foreign Affairs Office Li Li added ” Many British people know Chengdu as the home of the Giant Panda but they don’t know the vibrant city has world class natural and cultural heritage sites too.”
Other initiatives for Chengdu include a VIP event in Magazine Restaurant, Sackler Serpentine Gallery, a photo exhibition at Heathrow Terminal 5, a pop up teahouse in Covent Garden and opportunities to win trips to Chengdu via a social media campaign #Chengdu72
Panda Image (c) Andy Mossack