London Gatwick airport has received a boost with the news that there will now be daily flights to and from Hong Kong, as the route launched in September records “strengthening demand”.
Cathay Pacific will expand its timetable of flights at Gatwick from four times a week to a daily timetable, with six direct flights between the airports each day from June 2017, as well as more flights from Manchester.
UK passenger visits to Hong Kong grew by 4.3 per cent in the year to October, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board.
The decision comes as welcome international investment after the blow dealt by the government’s decision to back its larger rival Heathrow as the favoured option for a new runway.
Heathrow currently dominates the London to Hong Kong route, with flights offered by British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Cathay Pacific flying 386,726 passengers in the first quarter of 2016, according to Eurostat.
Hong Kong is the eighth busiest airport in the world, with 68.2m passengers passing through its terminals this year, according to the Airports Council International (ACI).
Hong Kong International was the fifth best airport in the world this year, according to a passenger vote in the World Airport Awards run by airport pollsters Skytrax. Meanwhile, Gatwick came 45th, well below its larger rival Heathrow in eighth.
The increase comes as the Asia Pacific region gains in its share of air passenger numbers, with annual passenger traffic growth of 6.2 per cent in 2015 says ACI.
Guy Stephenson, chief commercial officer at Gatwick Airport, said: “We are thrilled that demand for this exciting new service to Hong Kong has been sufficiently strong for Cathay Pacific to fly daily services.”
The Manchester route, launched two years ago, will receive one more flight a week from Hong Kong, increasing the operation to a five-times-weekly service.