Cathay Pacific bookings on Hong Kong route 'encouraging'
Cathay Pacific's regional general manager for Europe, James Ginns, was on hand yesterday to address Enterprise Ireland's 'Routes to Growth' Asia Pacific conference in Dublin.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr Ginns confirmed that forward booking sales of the airline's direct flights from Dublin to Hong Kong are already "very encouraging".
"The first few months are exactly where they should be," Mr Ginns said.
The route, which commences on 2 June, was launched after the Hong Kong-based airline saw a gap in the market to offer direct flights between Dublin and Asia.
Mr Ginns said that the airline sees a lot of potential in the Irish market, both in terms of passenger business, and on the cargo side.
"We saw a gap in the market, we are going to be the first airline operating directly to Asia [from Dublin]." "We are also operating it with our Airbus A350, which is an ideal aircraft to use," Mr Ginns continued.
In terms of looking to attract travellers that pass through travel hubs such as Dubai or Abu Dhabi, Mr Ginns said that what Cathay Pacific wants to do is to give people another option.
"We think that for Australasia it is a very compelling option to fly via Hong Kong, because Hong Kong lies naturally in the middle of the two points," he said.
"You fly 12 hours, you have a break in Hong Kong and then you fly another 10-12 hours depending on where you are going in Australasia, so you break the journey in the middle."
The airline will initially schedule flights four days a week from Dublin [Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday] and then see if it can build from there.
Yesterday's conference, which was jointly hosted by Enterprise Ireland and Cathay Pacific, was designed to facilitate the coming together of over 100 business leaders and buyers from the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region with over 200 Irish companies.
Enterprise Ireland said that it is aiming to increase Irish exports to the Asia Pacific region by 50pc by 2020.