Cathay Pacific Airways could get a coveted opportunity to fly passengers to Shanghai for the first time in 16 years.
It is part of a newly expanded air-services pact between Hong Kong and mainland China.
Cathay Pacific welcomes the outcome of the latest discussions between the Mainland and Hong Kong SAR authorities which provides for an expansion of the air services arrangements.
The airline has applied to the Hong Kong SAR Government requesting an allocation of rights to re-launch passenger flights to Shanghai, provide additional services to Beijing, and to increase all-cargo operations to the Mainland, tentatively in the fourth quarter of this year.
Shanghai is an important Mainland market for Cathay Pacific. It accounts for 35% of the passenger market and 68% of the cargo market between the Mainland and Hong Kong. The increased capacity to Beijing and Shanghai will be important in strengthening Hong Kong as the premier aviation hub in the Asia Pacific region as these two cities together represent 60% of the passenger market and 85% of the cargo market between the Mainland and Hong Kong.
Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Philip Chen said: “We appreciate the tremendous efforts made by the Mainland and Hong Kong authorities in expanding the air services opportunities. We are also encouraged that the overall arrangement supports the trend toward a more liberalized regime between the Mainland and Hong Kong”.
“We hope that both parties will continue to work towards a truly open aviation environment in China such that carriers will be free to develop their business for the greater good of Mainland aviation”, he added.