|For Immediate Release||1 April 2010|
Cathay Pacific Airways yesterday (31 March) staged a gala celebration to mark the launch of its new service to Milan - Italy's principal business and finance centre and a world-renowned capital for design and fashion. The latest addition to the network highlights the airline's commitment to the Italian market and its ongoing work to strengthen Hong Kong's position as one of the world's leading international aviation hubs.
The celebration was hosted by Cathay Pacific Chairman Christopher Pratt at the fashionable Palazzo del Ghiaccio in Milan with about 500 guests in attendance. Guests of honour at the event were Mr Yau Shing-mu, Under Secretary for Transport and Housing in the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and Gianvalerio Lombardi, Prefect of Milan. Among the other guests were members of the diplomatic community, Italian corporate clients and representatives from the travel and freight industries.
A highlight of the evening was a performance of "Walking on Air" - the airline's signature stage show that showcases Cathay Pacific's history and the cabin crew uniforms worn throughout the ages.
Speaking at the gala dinner, Mr Yau Shing-mu said: "I am confident that the direct flights between Hong Kong and Milan will bring in a new phase of development in our ties with Italy."
The airline's Chairman, Christopher Pratt, said: "We are extremely proud of the fact that with the launch of our new four-flights-weekly service, Cathay Pacific became the only airline to offer direct flights between Milan and our home city, Hong Kong."
In addition to hosting the gala event, Mr Pratt joined more than 50 delegates from the Hong Kong Government and the SAR's business community for a ceremony at Milan's Malpensa International Airport following the inaugural flight's arrival. An official ribbon-cutting and a traditional lion dance at the boarding gate helped to commemorate this important milestone for the airline.
Cathay Pacific began flying to Italy in April 1986 when it launched a twice-weekly service to the capital city, Rome. The airline now offers a total of 11 passenger flights between Hong Kong and Italy each week, including a daily service to Rome, in addition to a six-times-weekly freighter service to Milan. The airline operates passenger flights to 47 online destinations and will add a 48th on 13 July when it begins a new thrice-weekly service to Moscow.
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