CATHAY Pacific Airways has announced that it will launch a scheduled passenger service between Hong Kong and Milan, Italy’s principal business and finance center and a world-renowned capital for design and fashion, on March 28.

According to the company, 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.

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The new four-times-weekly service will be operated by a Boeing 777-300ER ultra-long-haul aircraft featuring Cathay Pacific’s three-class inflight product. The new service will increase the airline’s presence in Europe and provide passengers with greater flexibility for travel between Italy and Hong Kong and to other destinations in Asia and Australasia.

Cathay Pacific chief executive Tony Tyler said: “We are very excited to launch a new service to this dynamic city, and we expect it to help Milan to develop quickly as a prime destination for business and leisure travelers from this part of the world. This is the only direct service between these two major commercial cities and our strong network will enable us to offer great connections for travelers from northern Italy through the superb Hong Kong hub.”

Cathay Pacific began flying to Italy in April 1986 when it launched a service to the capital city, Rome. The airline currently operates a daily passenger service to Rome and a six-times-weekly freighter service to Milan, and will offer a total of 11 passenger flights to and from Italy each week when Milan launches as a passenger destination. The city will become the 47th online destination in Cathay Pacific’s passenger network.

In addition to the launch of the Milan service, Cathay Pacific will also be further strengthening its services to and from North America. From March 28, three flights a week will be added to the existing daily service to Toronto. The additional services will depart Hong Kong at 2:45 a.m. every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday while the existing daily flights will depart at 4:10 p.m. from Hong Kong.

The airline is also adding three flights per week to Los Angeles from May 1, increasing the frequency to 17 each week. The extra flights will depart Hong Kong at 1:10 p.m. every Monday, Thursday and Saturday. In addition, also starting from March 28, one of the two daily flights to San Francisco will be retimed to depart at 11:55 p.m. from Hong Kong, giving passengers a choice of daytime or nighttime departures.