China’s main airlines are to be lobbied to establish a direct air link between Glasgow and Shanghai.

The airports from the two cities are working together to develop a strategy to increase the number of passengers travelling between China and Scotland.

The decision to form the alliance is a result of months of discussions involving Shanghai Airport Authority’s president and senior executives and representatives from Glasgow airport.

Representatives from Glasgow shared their vision for expansion into China and the potential appeal of the airport and city as the gateway to Scotland for tourists from the Shanghai area and beyond.

The Scottish airport’s commercial director Francois Bourienne said: “It is a tremendous honour to be in Shanghai today to sign this partnership agreement, which marks a significant milestone in the relationship between the cities of Glasgow and Shanghai.

“This memorandum of understanding provides us with a unique opportunity to work alongside and share ideas with our new colleagues from Shanghai Airport Authority, which is responsible for operating the Chinese mega-city’s two main airports, handling in excess of 100 million passengers combined annually.

“The alliance will ensure both partners not only learn from one another, but work together to further enhance the growing business and tourism links between Scotland and China.

“As well as being the country’s leading long-haul airport, Glasgow is a popular gateway to Scotland for hundreds of thousands of visitors from the Asia each year. This partnership will seek to build on this.

“Through the exchange of ideas and continued collaboration, this strong partnership could bring the very real prospect of introducing a direct air link between the west of Scotland and China’s biggest city closer than it has ever been before.”

Shanghai Airport Authority vie president Ruijun Jia said: “Our aim is to work collaboratively with the management of Glasgow airport to exchange best practices in airport operations and to jointly implement initiatives to grow visitor numbers between Glasgow, Scotland and Shanghai.”