Cathay Pacific Chairman James Hughes-Hallett today expressed his appreciation to Central Government officials for receiving the airline-led delegation to mark its resumption of services to Beijing and for showing support to the aviation industry of Hong Kong and its development as a leading aviation hub.
During the two-day visit on Wednesday and Thursday, the delegation of international business leaders and other VIPs was warmly received by State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan and Deputy Director Chen Zuo-er of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council.
The airline hosted a dinner for Vice Minister of the Ministry of Commerce An Min and co-hosted a dinner with Deputy Director Zhang Xi-qin of China National Tourism Administration. The guests of honour at a gala dinner were Minister of General Administration of the Civil Aviation Administration of China Yang Yuan-yuan and Director of the Beijing Office of the HKSAR Government Bowen Leung.
At a meeting with the Cathay Pacific delegation at the Great Hall of People, State Councilor Tang said that the airline’s resumption of services to Beijing had a special meaning. In broad sense, it reflects an aspect of CEPA and signifies the Chinese Mainland working hand-in-hand with Hong Kong. It would help promote co-operation between the Chinese Mainland and Hong Kong in aviation.
Deputy Director Chen Zuo-er also welcomed the airline’s co-operation with mainland carriers. He said that Hong Kong’s internationalism is its advantage. He said this corresponds with the developing relationship between Hong Kong and the Chinese Mainland, and also enhances the territory’s position as an international economic centre, and hoped that both places would work closer together to make the most of this advantage.
Vice Minister of the Ministry of Commerce An Min said the Central Government’s endorsement of Cathay Pacific’s service to Beijing was evidence of its high regard Hong Kong.
China National Tourism Administration Deputy Director Zhang Xiqin said the airline’s resumption of services to Beijing was a “breeze in spring to Hong Kong tourism” and added that it signified the start of a new era in the development of tourism in the Chinese Mainland and Hong Kong.
At the gala dinner, Mr Leung said the airline’s resumption of Beijing services marked a milestone for the carrier in investing and developing the Mainland’s aviation market. He said that the aviation industry plays a key role in the economy of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Government would support and encourage Hong Kong airlines to enhance their services to the Mainland to strengthen the territory’s positions as the global aviation hub.
Mr Hughes-Hallett said that the Chinese Mainland would become the world’s most popular travel destination within the next decade. The market potential is huge and the airline is excited to take on the challenge. He added that Cathay Pacific has always enjoyed a close relationship with Mainland carriers and would work to foster closer ties with the three Mainland carrier groups in order to bring greater benefits in coming years.
Mr Hughes-Hallett said: “The Central Government clearly recognises Hong Kong’s role as an international aviation hub and as a gateway to China. At Cathay Pacific, we certainly welcome the opportunity to mount additional services to the Mainland, and at the same time recognise the contribution that Mainland carriers might make to further strengthen Hong Kong as a hub with additional services of their own, both to and through Hong Kong, as part of a gradual overall liberalisation programme. Such developments would be good for Hong Kong as well as fostering the broader development of China’s travel and tourism industry.”