On Saturday, Oct. 08, flight CX234 took off from Milan Malpensa Airport bound for Hong Kong: after more than two and a half years, Cathay Pacific has restored the only direct connection between Italy and the main hub in the East, a strategic crossroads for travel in Asia and Oceania.
For the Hong Kong-based airline, this is a historic moment that marks a further step toward a full resumption of operations in Europe, which were interrupted in January 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and now gradually restored thanks in part to the gradual relaxation of regulations for travel to the East.
Underlining the importance of the moment, a delegation representing Cathay Pacific management consisting of Ronald Lam, Chief Customer and Commercial Officer, and Kinto Chan, General Manager Europe, personally welcomed the flight’s 334 passengers on board along with Andrea Tucci, Vice President Aviation Business Development of SEA Aeroporti Milano, celebrating the return of a crucial connection for business and leisure traffic departing and transiting from Milan’s intercontinental airport.
“Today is a great day for the business community and for international tourism” said Ronald Lam, Chief Customer and Commercial Officer of Cathay Pacific.
“After more than two years we are returning to offer a direct connection between Milan, the most important city for trade and business in Italy and gateway to the incredible artistic, cultural and scenic heritage of the country, and Hong Kong, Asia’s primary financial and tourism hub: the strategic importance of this axis is evident in both directions.”
“We have been working for months on restoring our operations from Europe and around the world.
“The lifting of the mandatory hotel quarantine for entry into Hong Kong, which was lifted first for cabin crew and then at the end of September for all passengers arriving in the city, has given further impetus to the recovery process that will make Hong Kong increasingly connected and accessible to business and leisure travelers.
“My heartfelt thanks go to all Cathay Pacific staff in Italy and our local partners such as SEA Aeroporti di Milano, who have listened to passengers and worked hard behind the scenes to ensure a new continuity of service” concluded Lam.
“With satisfaction we welcome Cathay back to Malpensa,” says Andrea Tucci, Vice President Aviation Business Development at SEA.
“The carrier’s decision to restart connections to Italy, as soon as regulatory and business conditions allowed, and the decision to focus on Malpensa as a priority to reactivate connections from Italy on its network, confirms the strategic role of our infrastructure in particular for long-haul connections.
“The combination of a strong and rapidly recovering market measured by the size of the catchment area served and the attractiveness of the area for all travel segments and motivations is the founding element in Cathay’s investment decision.
“Reviewing, today, our catchment area again connected to Cathay’s network via Hong Kong, one of the most important Hubs in Asia in terms of network size and quality, will ensure the development of connectivity to Asia and Oceania by increasing the quality of commercial offerings at Malpensa.
“Currently the traffic recovery at our airport is 97 percent of pre-Covid thanks to the contribution of 75 airlines on a network of 190 destinations, in particular the overall recovery on long haul expected for Winter is 88 percent, further confirming the importance of our infrastructure for the air transport industry.”
The strengthening of connections from Europe will also improve connections to reach, via Hong Kong, the other destinations covered by Cathay Pacific’s network in Asia Pacific including China, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand and Australia.