02 Sep 2010
Cathay Pacific Airways celebrated the inauguration of its thrice-weekly service to Moscow on 1 September with a gala celebration in the city attended by 300 Hong Kong and Russia dignitaries, including government officials, aviation officials and business leaders.
The gala celebration was hosted by Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Tony Tyler with the Honourable Donald Tsang, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and Ivan Polyakov, Chairman of the Russia-Hong Kong Business Association, as guests of honour. Special guests at the event included a 30-member business delegation from Hong Kong led by Mr Tsang.
Speaking at the gala dinner, Donald Tsang said: “The timing of this launch of new direct flight services could hardly be better. The number of travellers in both directions increased significantly since the introduction of reciprocal visa-free travel arrangements between Russia and Hong Kong last year, our economy rebounded fairly strongly from the global financial crisis in the first half of this year, and bilateral trade between Hong Kong and Russia more than doubled in the first six months compared to last year.
“These new direct flights will give an additional lift to trade and tourism between Hong Kong and Russia and continue the momentum towards closer ties,” Mr Tsang added.
The airline’s Chief Executive, Tony Tyler, said: “We have long recognised the huge potential associated with Russia and have been looking for opportunities to enter the market for many years. I would like to express our appreciation of the tremendous work of the Hong Kong and Russian Governments in making our new service possible.”
Guests at the inaugural event enjoyed performances from Russian ballet dancers and musicians, and later watched Cathay Pacific’s signature “Walking on Air” stage show which showcases the airline’s history and its cabin crew uniforms through the years.
The Moscow service, which launched on 13 July, is the second new destination launched by the airline this year - a four-times-weekly service to Milan launched on 28 March and has been well-received by the market. Cathay Pacific now operates to 48 online passenger destinations in its global network.