About 600 guests, including dignitaries, government officials and business partners, joined the gala celebration hosted by Cathay Pacific Chief Operating Officer Ivan Chu. Officiating at the event were guests of honour Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna bint Khaled bin Sultan Al Qasimi, the UAE’s Minister for Foreign Trade, and Mr Charles Ng, Associate Director-General, Invest Hong Kong of the HKSAR Government.
Speaking at the event, Cathay Pacific Chief Operating Officer Ivan Chu said: “Cathay Pacific is committed to the Middle East, having served this ever-growing market for over 30 years. The new Abu Dhabi service, our fifth destination in the region, will enable travellers here to enjoy the great connectivity Cathay Pacific offers via the Hong Kong hub to our extensive network in Asia, Australia and China.”
Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna bint Khaled bin Sultan Al Qasimi, the UAE’s Minister for Foreign Trade, said: “We truly acknowledge Cathay Pacific’s commitment to serve the people of the United Arab Emirates and other parts of the region through its extensive network. While China is already the UAE’s second most important trade partner, the strengthening of cooperation in trade between the UAE and Hong Kong shall further serve to enhance the trade and economic ties between the UAE and China.”
Mr Charles Ng, Associate Director-General, Invest Hong Kong, said: “We firmly believe that this new Cathay Pacific direct flight service between Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong will help strengthen the economic ties and tourism links between our two cities.”
Highlights of the celebration event included an Arabic music performance, a traditional Chinese lion dance, Cathay Pacific’s signature “Walking on Air” show, and a kinetic painting performance showcasing the uniqueness of both Hong Kong and Abu Dhabi. Copies of the completed limited-edition painting were distributed to guests as souvenirs.
Abu Dhabi is the 49th online passenger destination in Cathay Pacific’s international network, and the airline will launch its second new passenger service this year when a daily flight to Chicago begins on 1 September 2011. In addition, the airline will increase the frequency of its Milan service from four flights a week to daily commencing 1 July 2011.