Cathay Pacific to launch direct flights to Abu Dhabi

Thursday, April 28, 2011, 19:52 by Aviation Correspondent

Cathay Pacific announced the launch of direct flights from Hong Kong to Abu Dhabi from June 2. The airline would offer further connectivity across mainland China via its subsidiary carrier Dragonair. The flights would also provide access to other destinations in Asia and Australia across the carrier’s network.

The Abu Dhabi Tourism authorities feel that the greater China sector which includes Hong Kong and mainland China is one of the fastest growing tourism regions for Abu Dhabi. The tourism sector in Abu Dhabi could see a boost of 20% during this year. Between January and February there was growth of 14 per cent in the number of hotel guests from Hong Kong and China to Abu Dhabi.

Since Hong Kong is a vital global commercial centre, the new service could also build up business and trade travel between the two countries.

About 14,000 travelers from Hong Kong and mainland China resided at hotels in Abu Dhabi past year, an increase of 28% compared to 2009.

The number of Chinese travelers to the UAE rose after Emirates was given permission by the Chinese authorities to start service by the end of 2009, including group leisure travel and packages to the UAE. As such hotels throughout the UAE have been recruiting Chinese employees.

The UN World Tourism Organization forecasts that there will be 100 billion travelers from China through 2020. The Chinese tourists spending increased 17 per cent to US$43.7 billion (Dh160.5bn).

Hong Kong is a major tourist destination, offering dining and shopping extravaganza along with other attraction such as Disneyland and other local landmarks.

The Abu Dhabi Airports Company said that it was not easy to bring in airlines for direct services. The authorities had to wait for some years to get the service ready to be launched.

Cathay Pacific said that it would offer inaugural fares of Dh2388 to Hong Kong and Dh2488 to mainland China.

Abu Dhabi is the fifth destination for Cathay Pacific in the Middle East. The airline started serving Dubai, 30 years back.

Cathay Pacific is the flag carrier of Hong Kong with its main hub situated at Hong Kong International Airport. The airline operates passenger and cargo services to 59 destinations with a fleet of 128 airplanes.

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