British Airways’ first flight to Chengdu arrived in the Sichuan Province’s capital city on September 23.

The Boeing 777-200 aircraft servicing the new route has been specially decorated with a painted livery, featuring a panda design, the icon of Chengdu.

Passengers on the inaugural flight included Willie Walsh, chief executive, IAG, as well as representatives from Harrods, VisitBritain and media from the UK and Europe.

Following a spectacular water canon salute, the aircraft was met by Mr Li Wei, Chairman of Sichuan Province Airport Group, flanked by uniformed British Airways ambassadors and six panda mascots.