The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the historic departure took place at Copenhagen Airport at gate 37 before Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific's environmentally friendly Airbus 350-900 took off at 14:10 for the Chinese metropolis.
″Cathay Pacific's new route between Copenhagen and Hong Kong is a connection between two metropolises, but for me personally it's also a connection between two places that are dear to my heart - Hong Kong, where I grew up, and Copenhagen, where I became an adult," said Countess Alexandra.
"With Cathay Pacific's opening of the direct connection, the journey between the two metropolises has become shorter, and for me it's a shortcut back to the streets of my childhood."
Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs: Good for both business and leissure
A direct route to Hong Kong has been on Denmark's wish list for a long time. So the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs was also delighted.
"Cathay Pacific's new route from Copenhagen to Hong Kong gives business travellers and tourists better access to Denmark, and Danes better access to the world. This is good news for Danish growth, exports and employment," said Minister for Foreign Affairs Anders Samuelsen.
Ultramodern and comfortable aircraft
The deployment of the Airbus A350-900 is a historic event in itself. This is the first direct route to Hong Kong since the 1990s. And it is the first time that the low-noise, state-of-the-art aircraft has been deployed on a regular route to and from Copenhagen.
Like Boeing's Dreamliner, the A350-900 uses less fuel than other types of aircraft. Furthermore, there is extra space and more light and air in the cabin.
"We're proud to be the first company to use the supermodern Airbus A350-900 on a regular route to Copenhagen Airport," said James Ginns, Cathay Pacific's regional general manager for Europe. "This is our first direct connection to the Danish capital ever - and in recent times to anywhere at all in Scandinavia. With the Airbus A350-900, passengers get a unique and relaxing travel experience with improved entertainment products, WiFi and advanced technology."
CPH: Hong Kong has been high on the wish list
Copenhagen Airport's CEO, Thomas Woldbye, could not hide his delight at the new route during the opening ceremony, which involved the cutting of a red ribbon, a cake and traditional Chinese dancing ahead of the historic departure of Cathay Pacific CX246.
"Hong Kong has been high on our wish list for a long time, and Cathay Pacific's direct route to Denmark is a milestone in the work of attracting new connections to Copenhagen Airport," said Thomas Woldbye.
"Experience consistently shows that new direct routes result in more passengers and increased economic growth. With a direct connection to Hong Kong, Danish and other Scandinavian passengers will also have easier access to new destinations in Asia and the southwest hemisphere."
Wonderful Copenhagen already active in Hong Kong
At Wonderful Copenhagen, which helped land the new route through its route development programme Greater Copenhagen Connected, the targeted marketing of Denmark in Hong Kong has already begun:
"Based on many years' experience of the Chinese market and Chinese travellers, we are now directing our marketing of Denmark's capital at the Chinese in the region that feeds into the route," says Wonderful Copenhagen's CEO, Mikkel Aarø-Hansen.
"We've taken our starting point in the target group's interests and travel behaviour in order to reach those who are not only likely to travel here but also likely to be here the longest possible time. We're doing this based on Copenhagen's strengths with stories about design, architecture, sustainability, and so on."
Cathay Pacific's new route between Copenhagen and Hong Kong will have three weekly departures (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) in the first summer season running from 2 May to 26 October 2018.
Cathay Pacific serves around 200 destinations around the world. Its subsidiary, Cathay Dragon, flies to destinations in Asia, including 20 major cities in China. Cathay Pacific is one of the founding members of the Oneworld alliance.
Cathay Pacific facts:
- The route will be served by an A350-900, Airbus's answer to Boeing's popular B787 Dreamliner.
- The aircraft has 280 seats, including 38 Business Class and 28 Premium Economy.
- The flight time from Copenhagen to Hong Kong is around 12 hours.
- Based in Hong Kong, the company was founded in 1946 and has around 150 aircraft.
- Cathay Pacific and its two subsidiaries, Air Hong Kong and Cathay Dragon, employ 34,000 people.